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

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July 31, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: July 31 on

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.