Amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland has recently conducted a high-energy laser weapon system demonstration 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 Portland successfully engaged a static surface training target. Portland previously tested the LWSD when it successfully disabled a small unmanned aerial system while operating in the Pacific Ocean.
The Office of Naval Research selected Portland to host the laser weapon technology in 2018. The LWSD 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. The units departed San Diego in August and began operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet region in September.