Directed Energy Systems Integration Laboratory
Ship Defense & Expeditionary Warfare Department Officer Lt. Cmdr. Levi Jones peers over the roof of the Directed Energy Systems Integration Laboratory toward the Pacific Ocean. Navy photo

The Navy announced Tuesday that it has opened a $23 million laboratory at Point Mugu in Ventura County to test new laser weapons for the fleet.

The Directed Energy Systems Integration Laboratory is an 18,500-square-foot, three-story facility positioned on the Point Mugu Sea Range with its 36,000 square miles of controlled air and sea space.

The DESIL laboratory is designed so that weapons can be installed on its roof as well as inside the building for test and evaluation.

“The speed of warfare has increased so dramatically and exponentially over the last several years that one of the best ways that our fleet is going to be able to fight and win is with speed-of-light laser technology types of weapons,” said Vance Brahosky, deputy technical director of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division.

“The directed energy and high-power microwave technology testing that can now be done in this facility will allow us to evaluate and field warfighting capabilities so that the sailors and Marines on our ships can fight and win,” he said.

DESIL is the Navy’s only dedicated facility for complex testing, firing and evaluating of complete laser weapons in a maritime environment.

The Navy is currently mounting laser weapons aboard several Arleigh Burke class destroyers. These weapons can shoot down small drones and disable small boats.

The project broke ground on in May 2020, with Harper Construction of San Diego managing the project.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.