The US navy has tuned to laser technology for help to combat ever-evolving drone systems, or Unmanned Arial Systems (UAS). The new weapon, named Optical Dazzling Indicator, Navy, or ODIN for short, was installed aboard the Arleigh Burke-Class guided-missile destroyer, USS Dewey, during dry-dock operations and will be used to blind the sensors of any unknown or potentially dangerous UAS.
According to US Navy officials, the deployment of ODIN took place on 20 February 2020, just 2.5 years after the system entered its concept phase.
New Atlas US Navy deploys first anti-drone laser dazzler weapon: The US Navy has successfully installed its first Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN) laser weapon aboard one of its warships. During dry-dock… https://t.co/gZyPakzTUR #USNavy #Laserweapon Via @nwtls pic.twitter.com/d4dBai2IFv
— Streamlab ZA (@Streamlab_za) February 22, 2020
The technical details focusing on how ODIN works won’t be made available to the public. This is because if the inner workings of the system are revealed, it could lead to the development of new UAS technologies capable of easily beating the system. What is known, however, is that ODIN uses a dazzler laser.
This type of laser is used to either blind, distract, disable or destroy the delicate optical sensors found on drones. It should be mentioned that the legality of using dazzler lasers against human pilots restricts them to only distracting the person instead of destroying or disabling their navigation systems. Meaning ODIN will primarily focus on UAS instead of aircrafts’ piloted by humans.
Surprisingly, ODIN isn’t the first laser drone defence system to be employed onto a battleship. That honour goes to the office of Naval Research (ONR) and its Laser Weapons System (LaWS), deployed on the USS Ponce back in 2014. It was this experience and knowhow that provided the expertise needed to complete the development of ODIN.
Image: Twitter/ @Streamlab_za