The U.S. Navy has announced the installation of the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN), a laser-based drone defense system for the first time. ODIN is just one of the many laser systems that the Pentagon is testing in an attempt to improve its anti-aircraft defenses.
The system was installed on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105), although this is not a typical weapon.
The ODIN system belongs to the category of non-killing weapons. Unlike other laser systems that destroy targets with a concentrated beam of light, ODIN is the so-called dazzler laser. This type of laser is designed to “distract” or “blind” the drone, and not to destroy it. They can damage optical sensors on drones. It was developed using experience from LaWS system tests carried out on the USS Ponce landing ship and for a short time also on USS Dewey.
The development, testing, and production of the ODIN system were carried out by Navy specialists in the Dahlgren branch of the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) for the needs of the Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems Program.
According to the U.S. Navy, ODIN went from approving an idea to installing it on a ship in just two and a half years. Over the next two years, weapons will be deployed throughout the fleet as protection against drones, ensuring safety and more technically advanced capabilities of the U.S. Navy. Lessons learned from the ODIN installation on Dewey will provide the basis for installation on further ships and the further development and implementation of the United States Navy’s laser weapons systems.