The U.S. Navy’s acquisition chief announced the establishment of the London Tech Bridge—the U.S. Navy’s first such innovation centre outside the United States.

According to the U.S. Navy here, the initial focus areas of the London Tech Bridge will be artificial intelligence, unmanned and autonomy, biotechnology, space, and lasers/directed energy.

“London Tech Bridge makes 13 overall and our first overseas location,” said James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research Development and Acquisition.

“This location emphasises and builds on our unique partnership with the U.K. and Royal Navy and will better enable us to accelerate solutions to support our defense strategies.”

The London Tech Bridge will connect UK technology solutions to the U.S Department of the Navy and will also partner U.S. companies with UK industry and the Ministry of Defence. In London, the Tech Bridge will be working with the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy, combining the innovation of the two nations’ defense experts.

“The London Tech Bridge will serve as the DON gateway to connect with international leading-edge tech companies and innovation partners to accelerate solutions,” said Whitney Tallarico, NavalX Tech Bridge program director.

“While national security is our goal, we are keenly aware that it takes an international team to provide stability for our world. Part of that stability is based on offering global citizens meaningful jobs, opportunities to work on complex problems, and providing a platform to remind us that we have friends at home and abroad who want to see our people and our economies flourish,” Tallarico said.

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Andy P

I guess the UK must be doing something right on this stuff if the USN is looking to get into bed at an early stage.

fearlesstunafish

well…..ours is called dragonfire….so its got a much better name than their stupid acronyms if nothing else! 😛

Mark B

Let’s hope we are bringing more than just a name to the party! Need to get what’s her name from game of thrones so that people can visualise the brand …

Steve R

I really hope someone puts a sticker on the firing button saying “Dracarys!”

Basra

Remember they now have the storm breaker missile 😀

Rob

Can someone explain this to me? Now clearly a directed energy weapon (a lazer as I understand it) is highly desirable because it travels at the speed of light, is directionally very accurate (light travels in straight lines) and some what awe inspiring (we have a Star Wars weapon). However to produce one requires a huge amount of energy. Now either they will need to hugely upgrade the energy output of the engines or used stored energy. Both have serious weight issues for warships; batteries for stored energy or much larger energy generating engines. How can this work? I’m not… Read more »

Chrisjs

“Lazer”? A laser is coherent light of the same frequency. Great as long as it is not raining/foggy or the target is no too far away. Now EMP tech much more fun!.

Rob

Chrisjs

Excuse my ignorance. EMP (electro magnetic pulse?), would probably destroy the guidance system in an incoming missile but not destroy the warhead as it isn’t a heat weapon like a proper lazer. How does this work?

Andy Poulton

Yes, it’s an Electromagnetic Pulse. And it will wipe out all the electronics in a missile which will make the missile fall out of the sky. Oh, and its LASER, not LAZER, and it stands for
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”

Rob

Andy…

You are so superior…I bet you have an EMP right now and your laser like intelligence doesn’t extend to any social skills.

You are probably a compulsive cleaner too. Have fun.

Steve

I think this is the fundamental problem that no one seems to have solved so far. Its all well and good a laser working in a desert or ideal sea scenario, but any CIWS needs to work no matter the weather and work every time or its pretty pointless.

Dave Wolfy

This is why laser homing artillery was virtually useless in Europe.
I think that the US Army had something called Copperhead, not much for the reasons that you said.

spyintheskyuk

Well my knowledge is limited as its all rather restricted and I am not technical, but as I understand it, one of the aspects of Dragonfire that the US is interested in is the electrical generation/storage mechanism that was originally designed by Williams for F1/Fe that Rolls Royce are now exploiting to be able to develop, store (short term) and release great waves of electrical energy as and when you need it. Last I read a few months back this has been successfully tested in the US and is being taken forward to the next stage of ‘real world’ testing.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by spyintheskyuk
RoboJ1M

Exactly, I’d be interested to know what exactly the Americans bring to this table.
Add to that that they’ve not exactly been there most reliable partner these last 4 years.
It would be nice to see if they can right their ship and join the grown up table again.

T.S

There is a huge amount of research and development going on in states around micro nuclear reactors I believe. One that would fit i to something the size of a shipping container and be used to power something the size of camp bastion by itself. Many other applications, and could be the holy grail for power generation to things like lasers and open the doors for larger power classes.

RoboJ1M

There’s a huge amount of research going on here in the UK too.

Watcherzero

Jet engines produce a lot of energy. If we look at the F-35B for example It outputs just over 180kn of thrust on afterburner, its capable of diverting 89kn of that mechanically to the lift fan via an axel. Thats about 20kw if converted to electricity. The lasers they are fitting to ships are in the 30-60kw range. The batteries to hold 20kw are around 520kg but you would likely do it with capacitors rather than batteries as you only need to hold the energy for a few seconds. So by sacrificing the carrying capacity of a medium sized bomb… Read more »

TrevorH

Good point. Surely energy = Heat??

The Big Man

The stored energy is in flywheels and capacitors not batteries. You can therefore build the energy when required and keep topping up.
Targeted EMP and microwaves is the future.

The Big Man

I was talking ships BTW.

Nath

Sometimes what we are interested is not energy but power. The ability to transmit energy in a short period of time. Lasers have the ability to switch at unprecedented speeds. So, even if the energy is reasonably small, the power can massively exceed that of a nuclear power plant. I don’t know what dragon fly etc rely on but if it’s power then there’s your answer.

HMS Monarch

I wonder what happened to Dragonfire?

Jack

Is there a danger of “brain drain” ? Could the UK be reduced to a consumer of US made systems that UK expertise helped create ?

Jack

It sounds like a major outflow of hard earned knowledge lies ahead and for what benefit to the UK.

Gunbuster

Lasers at sea… The UK had them at sea in the very early 80s. CHEAVAGE was a rather Heath Robinson set up but it did the job of “dazzling” a target. The Geneva convention however is a little bit grey on the subject as a weapon designed only to maim and not kill so it was one of the reasons it was discontinued with. Current efforts use solid state not gas lasers and have a higher power density. Power supplies are not really an issue on a vessel . DG and GT alternators produce mega watts of power onboard. What… Read more »

Jonathan

The fact that ethically it’s more appropriate design a weapon kill someone over maiming them is a very interesting discussion point all by itself.

Dave Wolfy

To dazzle does not necessarily mean damage. The laser involved, I thought, merely dazzled and did no actual harm (in itself of course).

Jonathan

I’ve known a few women who can dazzle to the point of damage.

Dave Wolfy

I suppose that most of us end up marrying one (or more than one). Luckily my bank account is safe, I have always kept my own.

Gunbuster

If you put a filter on it and use low power it will dazzle…However, up the watts and remove the eye safe filters and it will do a lot more than that.
Even small hand held lasers such as those ones you can buy in the far east off cocky market stalls to use when out clubbing ( Not that i ever have!!!) can cause retinal damage and they are only rated at mWs and powered with a couple of watch batteries.
Imagine what a 10-50kw laser can do.

Joe16

As long as there are agreements in place that alloow us to utilise the outcomes of any of this US-funded research I’m OK with this.
That said, could they not have “levelled up” a bit and put the centre somewhere other than London…?

Daniele Mandelli

I may be wrong, but I took the meaning to be a virtual “centre” as in liaison between our DSTL bods and theirs at the MoD itself.

If I’m wrong, I’d like to know the location.

Malcolm Rich

OK if we just concentrate on the ships then most modern ships are having additional capacity growth built into them to supply additional power but lets not confuse continuous power with pulse power. DEW use pulse power from a storage bank (laser, Rail Gun, EMP) so the continuous power you require on a ship is set by how quickly you want to reload and fire again. You can achieve MW of pulsed power and only need kW of continuous power as the pulse is very small. The difficult part is the storage and the release of the energy which is… Read more »

Daveyb

A laser by definition, is a method of creating a spot of coherent light (all travelling in the same direction) from a body that has been externally excited. Traditionally the bodies were things like ruby crystals or pressurized carbon dioxide. But over 20 years ago the laser diode was invented. These solid-state devices were not all that powerful; however, they could be scaled up and brought together in a collective. Today, a diode laser can reliably generate a lot more power. The UK’s Dragonfire is a so called fibre laser. This is a misnomer, as it is a collective of… Read more »

Watcherzero

Its not just melting through a targets skin, lasers can also produce a kinetic punch by flash heating a small section of the target, this can be enough to induce a deviation in the missile/aircraft trajectory and the air resistance from no longer being in an aerodynamic orientation can cause the target to break up. In particular this is what the big US airborne laser experiments were doing.

Ron5

“Lasers, just like radar are governed by the inverse square law when transmitting within the atmosphere”

Incorrect.

DaveyB

Try again. Perhaps with a bit of knowledge and data to back up your statement.

Ron5

Inverse square law applies to emitters that broadcast equally in multiple directions like a radar. While radar beam may be described as being a “pencil” beam, it is not. Such a beam is formed as a result of patterns formed by multiple nodes broadcasting in all directions. Lasers on the other hand, do broadcast in one direction. There is a slight divergence of the beam at distance but not enough to make a difference. The easiest way to imagine it is if a radar was operated in outer space. It would be like the sun broadcasting light and visible to… Read more »

Daveyb

The inverse square law applies to all forms of radiated energy where it is propagated through a medium. It is a measurement along the beam’s path length irrespective if the beam is narrow or wide. The cross section area of the beam is taken into account, as the energy is shared across the cross sectional area of the beams face. How the law affects the propagated energy is also partially determined by the properties of the medium. A laser can be viewed as something special though! Because is does not obey the classical laws of physics, but instead obeys the… Read more »