Daily US Times: US Navy’s Pacific Fleet said in a statement Friday that navy warship has successfully tested a new high-energy laser weapon that can destroy aircraft mid-flight.
The Navy provided videos and images which show the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland executing “the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser” to disable an aerial drone aircraft.
The images show the laser emanating from the deck of the warship and video clips show what appears to be the drone burning.
The Navy did not reveal the location of the laser weapon testing saying only that it occurred in the Pacific on May 16.
The power of the weapon was not revealed either, but a report of 2018 from the International Institute for Strategic Studies said it was expected to be a 150-kilowatt laser.
Capt. Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of Portland, said: “By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small crafts, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats.”
“With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy,” the statement added.
The Navy says lasers, which it calls directed energy weapons (DEW), can be effective defenses against armed small boats or drones.
The statement adds: “The Navy’s development of DEWs like the LWSD provide immediate warfighter benefits and provide the commander increased decision space and response options.”
Lt. Cale Hughes, a laser weapons system officer, described how the system works.
“It is throwing massive amounts of photons at an incoming object,” Hughes said. “We don’t worry about wind, we don’t worry about range, we don’t worry about anything else. We’re able to engage the targets at the speed of light,” he said.
CNN reported that it had witnessed US Navy’s drone-killing laser in 2017.
”In the sometimes hostile waters of the Persian Gulf looms the US Navy’s first — in fact, the world’s first — active laser weapon,” the network reported back then.