Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Gun-Launched Guided Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress [May 18, 2018] [open pdf - 2MB]
"This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three new ship-based weapons the Navy is developing that could improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and surface craft: the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the gunlaunched guided projectile (GLGP), previously known as the hypervelocity projectile (HVP).1 The Navy refers to the initial (i.e., Increment 1) version of SNLWS as HELIOS, an acronym meaning high-energy laser with integrated optical dazzler and surveillance. Any one of these three new weapons, if successfully developed and deployed, might be regarded as a 'game changer' for defending Navy surface ships against enemy missiles and UAVs. 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 air-defense weapons simultaneously available for development and potential deployment. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy's funding requests and proposed acquisition strategies for these three potential new weapons. Congress's decisions on this issue could affect future Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the defense industrial base."
CRS Report for Congress, R44175