The US Navy has succcesfully demonstrated the power of the latest addition to its arsenal – a laser cannon capable of downing flying drone plane and sinking speedboats.
The demonstration of the Navy’s Laser Weapons System (LaWS) showed that the weapon was capable of igniting a drone airplane in full flight.
The US Navy has announced that the first fully operational prototype of the LaWS system will be installed of a ship next year.
The choice of ship might raise a few chuckles on the other side of the pond, as the ship chosen to carry the weapon is the amphibious docking ship USS Ponce.
The current version of LaWS is to be used against small boats and drone planes, but the Navy is currently working on a larger, more powerful version of the weapon.
US Navy sources claims that LaWS is a very cheap weapon to operate, as the power consumed by a single blast of the infrared laser amounts to about $1.
The current prototype of LaWS costs about $32 million to build, but, although that might sound like a lot, it’s in fact a great double whammy victory for the US Navy in the always ongoing inter-departemental war between the branches of the US Armed Forces.
The US Air Force has been trying to develop a laser for their planes for years. The program is thought to have cost over $1 billion dollars by now, without having produced anything remotely close to the success of the LaWS.
In spite of the succesful tests, the US Navy admits that LaWS can struggle in poor weather conditions. And seeing as infrared rays can be reflected by various materials, including aluminium, then I guess it’s unclear if an enemy couldn’t just make their drones look like flying disco balls and thereby negate the efficiency of LaWS….