Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Hypervelocity Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress [August 14, 2017] [open pdf - 2MB]
"This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles--solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP). 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. If two or three of them are successfully developed and deployed, the result might be considered not just a game changer, but a revolution. Rarely has the Navy had so many potential new types of surface-ship missile-defense weapons simultaneously available for development and potential deployment. Although the Navy in recent years has made considerable progress in developing SSLs, EMRG, and HVP, a number of significant development challenges remain. The HPV in particular has emerged as a program of particular interest to the Department of Defense (DOD), which is exploring the potential for using the weapon across multiple U.S. military services."
CRS Report for Congress, R44175
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html