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Navy Uses WWII Era Test Tunnel to Develop High Energy Laser Weapons

NSWCDD laser experts align optics in the Navy's Laser Lethality and Development Laboratory which features an above-ground tunnel used for evaluating high energy laser weapon systems.

NSWCDD laser experts align optics in the Navy's Laser Lethality and Development Laboratory which features an above-ground tunnel used for evaluating high energy laser weapon systems.

July 31, 2017 | Source: NAVSEA Systems Command, NSWC Dahglren Division, navsea.navy.mil, 21 April 2017

The Navy’s top laser experts transformed a tunnel crucial to gun range operations during World War II into a vital new capability for testing laser technologies, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) announced April 21.

For years, civilian scientists – including those who developed and installed the Laser Weapon System aboard USS PONCE (AFSB[I] 15) – speculated about the long dormant 100-meter tunnel and its potential for laser lethality and system testing.

Could it be converted to research, test, develop, and evaluate a new generation of laser weapon systems for integration aboard warships?

Eventually, their question was answered and the old tunnel was upgraded. Now, it’s integral to the Navy’s state-of-the-art Laser Lethality and Development Laboratory.

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