Last month, we told you about the U.S. military and its battlefield-deployed high-energy laser weapon system (LaWS) being field tested this fall during training exercises in the Persian Gulf. Now here's a newly released operational demonstration video of the wicked little weapon incinerating a wide range of moving targets, from unmanned drones (UAVs) to simulated attack boats and rocket-propelled grenades, earlier in November. Now branded an "operational asset," the laser has been approved by U.S. Central Command for use by the ship's commander to defend the vessel.
"Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operation," said chief of naval research Rear Admiral L. Klunder in an official statement issued Wednesday. "We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets designated with near-instantaneous lethality."
The optical weapon used on the USS Ponce is a baby brother to the 100- and 150-kilowatt weapons that will be installed on ships in 2016 or 2017. Have a look at the Navy's powerful new defensive toy and let us know if you're impressed with its flawless accuracy or waiting for something stronger.