[youtube]awsQs4ct0c4[/youtube] Navy Tests Experimental Laser WeaponThe Navy test-fired a new laser cannon which set fire to a motorboat off the coast of California last week, according to video footage and a press release of the event.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) deployed and tested the new, experimental weapon mounted on a warship, which is capable of focusing a “solid-state, high-energy laser” at targets, according to a release.
One tactical advantage that the laser provides to Naval warships is keeping smaller craft “at a safe distance.” The short YouTube video of the test shows the seat of a motorboat slowly catching on fire.
The laser was not shown in the video. It was not apparent how far it was from the boat.
“This is the first time a (high-energy laser), at these power levels, has been put on a Navy ship, powered from that ship and used to defeat a target at-range in a maritime environment,” stated Peter Morrison, program officer for ONR’s Maritime Laser Demonstrator.
In the release, Navy researchers said that the laser can be integrated with a ship’s radar as well as its navigation system. The test also demonstrated that the laser can be fired in humid environments. In the past, they were only tested on land, not sea.
“From a science and technology point of view, the marriage of directed energy and kinetic energy weapon systems opens up a new level of deterrence into scalable options for the commander,” Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr stated.
Researchers added that there is still much more research and testing to do before the weapon can go live.
U.S. military researchers have been testing laser weapons for three decades. Generally, laser beams are used for sighting, ranging, and for targeting for weapons, but not as weapons themselves.