ADMIN NOTE: This report was originally published in the 08 September Executive Intelligence Summary.
A report issued in August by the Congressional Research Service assesses that three U.S. Navy weapons systems currently under development are each “game changers,” and that singly or together would change the nature of combat at sea. The systems assessed by the CRS — solid state lasers (SSLs), the eletromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP) — could dramatically improve the ability of surface warships to project power and to defend themselves against by enemy missiles.
“Any one of these new weapon technologies, if successfully developed and deployed, might be regarded as a ‘game changer’ for defending Navy surface ships against enemy missiles,” the report states. “If two or three of them are successfully developed and deployed, the result might be considered not just a game changer, but a revolution.”
The report goes onto note that it has been rare when the Navy has had so many technologically advanced weapons in development at the same time, noting that the HPV in particular has “emerged as a program of particular interest to the Department of Defense…which is exploring the potential for using the weapon across multiple U.S. military services.”
The Navy has made substantial progress on all three weapons systems over the past few years but serious hurdles remain, the report said, noting that Congress will have to consider those challenges — and the risk that the development could fail — in deciding whether to approve additional funding requests from the Navy for those systems moving forward. [source]