US Navy Opens $23M Lab, “DESIL”, To Test New Laser Weapons

Source: U.S. Navy by Dana Rene White

The U.S. Navy recently opened a $23 million laboratory in Ventura County, CA to test new laser weapons. The Directed Energy Systems Integration Laboratory (DESIL) is the Navy’s only dedicated facility for the complex testing, firing, and evaluating of complete laser weapons in a maritime environment.

“The speed of warfare has increased so dramatically and exponentially over the last several years that one of the best ways that our fleet is going to be able to fight and win is with speed-of-light laser technology types of weapons,” said Vance Brahosky, deputy technical director of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division. “The directed energy and high-power microwave technology testing that can now be done in this facility will allow us to evaluate and field warfighting capabilities so that the sailors and Marines on our ships can fight and win.”

The DESIL lab is an 18,500-square-foot ( ~1719 square meters), three-story facility positioned on the Point Mugu Sea Range with its 36,000 square miles (~ 93,600 square kilometers) of controlled air and sea space. The laboratory has also been designed to allow for the installation of Directed Energy (DE) systems on its roof and inside the building for test and evaluation.

“This building also allows us to do that experimentation and practice and innovation, not just with ourselves, but with our partners in industry and academia as well as enterprise partners, such as Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (Virginia),” Michael Ladner, NSWC PHD acting technical director,  said. “ …“ Dahlgren has had some capability, but this is going to be a unique facility to practice in a more realistic environment that our ships are going to be in, and having a place to do that with these other folks is going to be very powerful for us.”