The U.S. Navy announced Wednesday that a new laser weapon deployed into Persian Gulf earlier this year performed seamlessly during testing that wrapped up in November, and declared the weapon a success.
Deployed for the first time aboard the U.S.S. Ponce in September, the Office of Naval Research released a video Wednesday of the LaWS (laser weapon system) taking out two test targets.
“Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations,” Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, said in a statement Wednesday. “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 performed flawlessly through a range of adverse weather conditions and took out moving targets both at sea and in the air, including small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Operated via a “video-game like controller,” the system is designed to go from non-lethal to lethal output to stun or destroy “asymmetrical threats” like small ships and UAVs.
At less than a dollar per shot, the cost-efficient 30-kilowatt weapon is the first of larger 100 and 150-kilowatt weapons to be deployed aboard later ships.