US Navy’s amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) conducted a high-energy laser weapon system demonstration on 14 December while sailing in the Gulf of Aden.
During the demonstration, the solid-state laser-technology maturation laser weapons system demonstrator (LWSD) Mark 2 MOD 0 aboard USS Portland successfully engaged a static surface training target. The vessel previously tested the LWSD in May 2020 when it successfully disabled a small unmanned aerial system while operating in the Pacific Ocean.
LWSD is a high-energy laser weapon system demonstrator developed by the Office of Naval Research and installed on Portland for an at-sea demonstration. It is considered a next-generation follow-on to the laser weapon system (LaWS) that afloat forward staging base USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) tested for three years while operating in the Middle East.
Portland is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group that includes amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and embarked Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
USS Portland is the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. While it is the third ship to bear the name ‘USS Portland,’ it is the first ship to be named solely after the largest city in Oregon. Built by shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries, it is designed to support embarking, transporting, and landing elements of more than 800 Marines.
The units departed San Diego in August and began operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet region in September.