Navy Unveils New Laser Weapon to Zap Drones



Mike O'Brien
04/09/2013

The U.S. Navy has unveiled its futuristic Laser Weapon System (LAWS) which will be deployed early next year in the Persian Gulf.

It can protect ships from approaching unmanned aerial vehicles or speedboats by blasting targets with high-intensity light beams.

Related: Maritime Homeland Security Summit

The system can track targets and zap them with a beam strong enough to burn a hole through steel.

The Navy released a video on Monday which shows how a Navy destroyer was able to bring down a UAV during testing in California.

The beam is not visible to the human eye and many features of LAWS have not been released to the public.

However the Navy has revealed that the weapons system is relatively cheap because it plugs into a ship's existing targeting technologies and power grids, ABC OTUS News reports.

LAWS took six years to develop at a cost of about $40 million. Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of Naval Research, said it has not missed a single target so far and is ready for real-world testing aboard the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf.

The ship was chosen because of its enduring presence in the Gulf to counter Iranian maritime threats in the region.

Mr. Klunder said: "Frankly I hope it sends a message to some of our potentially threatening adversaries out there to know that we mean business.

"This is a system where if you try to harm our vessels that I hope you will take a very, very serious moment of pause to think about that before you do it because this system will destroy your vessel or will destroy your UAV.

"There's absolutely every intention that with the development of this system and follow-on upgraded systems we will eventually be able to take higher speeds in-bound," he added.

(U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams)

Watch the video of the Laser Weapon System in action below.