The US Navy has said that its new laser weapon works and has been authorized for use as a form of defense.
According to the US Naval Institute, the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) was tested without errors on the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce from September to November.
“Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations,” Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, who is the chief of naval research, stated, via CNN. “We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”
The laser weapon was installed on the USS Ponce as part of a $40 million research and development program.
“The captain of that ship has all of the authorities necessary if there was a threat inbound to that ship to protect our sailors and Marines [and] we would defend that ship with that laser system,” Klunder added.
“It would be [used] against those [unmanned aerial vehicles], slow moving helicopters, fast patrol craft.”
A video that accompanied the US Naval Institute report showed the laser weapon in action, as seen below:
The video shows the laser cannon making precise air strikes on a number of objects, including what appears to be a UAV.
“Klunder did not give details on the ROE or the ranges of LaWS but did say that humans were not a target of the weapon, under stipulations of the Geneva Conventions which he did not detail,” the report stated. “He did say that the Navy has tested LaWS against a simulated small boat so-called swarm attack and that the system was effective.”