They promised us flying cars. We’re still waiting. Tesla and Uber don’t begin to cut it. But now, after a successful test by the US Pacific fleet, it looks like frickin’ laser beams have finally fully taken a big step into the 21st century.
Images and videos provided by the Navy show the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland executing “the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser” to disable an aerial drone aircraft, the statement said.
The images show the laser emanating from the deck of the warship. Short video clips show what appears to be the drone burning
The Navy’s not announcing exactly how powerful the laser is, but experts estimate it’s in the 150 kilowatt range.
From the Navy’s statement:
“By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small crafts, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats,” said Capt. Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of Portland.
The U.S. Navy has been developing directed-energy weapons (DEWs), to include lasers, since the 1960s. DEWs are defined as electromagnetic systems capable of converting chemical or electrical energy to radiated energy and focusing it on a target, resulting in physical damage that degrades, neutralizes, defeats, or destroys an adversarial capability.
Navy ships face an increasing number of threats in conducting their missions, including UAVs, armed small boats, and adversary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. The Navy’s development of DEWs like the LWSD, provide immediate warfighter benefits and provide the commander increased decision space and response options.
How long before Crimson Trace produces a long gun version?