“The Navy is currently developing three potential new weapons that could improve the ability of its surface ships to defend themselves against enemy missiles — solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the hypervelocity projectile (HVP),” says the summary of the report.
“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,” it further says.
The summary of the report states that SSLs are being developed by multiple parts of the Department of Defense (DOD), not just the Navy.
SSLs, EMRG, and HVP, moreover, have potential applications for military aircraft and ground force equipment, not just surface ships.
And SSLs, EMRG, and HVP can be used for missions other than defending against anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) and anti-ship ballistic missiles (ASBMs).
The report focuses on Navy efforts to develop SSLs, EMRG, and HVP for potential use in defending Navy surface ships against ASCMs and ASBMs.
However, it also mentions who the actual target of the newly developed weapons might be.
"Some observers are concerned about the survivability of US naval surface ships in potential combat situations against adversaries, such as China, that are armed with advanced ASCMs and with ASBMs," it says.
"Concern about this issue has led some observers to conclude that the Navy’s surface fleet in coming years might need to avoid operating in waters that are within range of these weapons, or that the Navy might need to move toward a different fleet architecture that relies less on larger surface ships and more on smaller surface ships and submarines."
These changes in Navy operating areas and fleet architecture could substantially affect US military strategy and the composition of the Navy’s shipbuilding expenditures.
However, Lenta.ru, a Russian online newspaper, noted that a massive airstrike with the use of ASCMs is a “visiting card” of the Soviet and then of Russia’s fleet, who is the innovated the usage of these attacks as combat methods.
However the outlet notes that regardless of this well-known fact, neither the current material nor other official documents of the US Navy mention the issue of “containment of Russia.”