Newest US Navy LPD ‘Portland’ to serve as laser weapon host ship

Portland (LPD 27) transiting Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (NSGB) during a brief fuel stop while en route to San Diego home port. Photo: US Navy

The newest US Navy amphibious transport dock ship Portland (LPD-27) will serve as a platform for the technology demonstration of a laser weapon developed by the Office of Naval Research.

This was announced by LPD-17 and LHA program manager Capt. Brian Metcalf at the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium, and first reported by USNI News.

Future USS Portland, which is scheduled for commissioning in April this year, will be equipped with what is termed as a next-generation version of a laser weapon earlier tested aboard the USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) in the Middle East.

“It’s going to fit into what was originally the vertical launching system reservation on the ship. So they’ve got what I will call power modules that control the laser that will just fit in those open and reserve weight spaces, and then the laser itself gets just bolted on to the deck,” USNI News quoted Metcalf as saying.

Metcalf further said the system would be installed aboard Portland before the ship is handed over to the fleet.

Additionally, the Portland was chosen to serve as flagship for RIMPAC 2018. The ship will commission in Portland, Oregon, in April, and will then take part in RIMPAC before it sails to its San Diego homeport.

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