The U.S. Navy is working on a new laser weapon that is designed to knock enemy drones and other airborne targets from out of the sky. It's quite an ambitious project, but it appears the Navy has found a way to transform movies into real life.
The laser weapon system has been under development for years. However, development appears to be close to completion as the Navy aims to add final adjustments to the prototype. The electric-powered laser system is dubbed LaWS, which stands for Laser Weapons System, and it will be deployed for real-world testing later this summer.
In the past few years, LaWS has proven itself to be quite competent at hitting targets with direct energy bursts. These energy bursts are so powerful that they light targets on fire, sending them straight to the ground. The next plan for the U.S. Navy is to deploy the laser system in the Persian Gulf onboard the USS Ponce.
"This is a revolutionary capability," said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. "It's absolutely critical that we get this out to sea with our sailors for these trials, because this very affordable technology is going to change the way we fight and save lives."
Interestingly enough, LaWS will cost the Navy $1 per shot, which is considered cheaper than firing live ammunition at an airborne target. However, we are not certain if LaWS is only capable of attacking fast-moving targets or just slower targets such as drones and helicopters.
"Our nation's adversaries are pursuing a variety of ways to try and restrict our freedom to operate," Klunder said. "Spending about $1 per shot of a directed-energy source that never runs out gives us an alternative to firing costly munitions at inexpensive threats."
You might be wondering how the Navy plans to control LaWS. Well, guess what? Soldiers will be using a controller similar to that of a video game console. We have no idea on the exact design, but looking at a video game controller should give you an idea.
"Using a video gamelike controller, that sailor will be able to manage the laser's power to accomplish a range of effects against a threat, from disabling to complete destruction."
Now, all the Navy needs to do is to strap LaWS on the back of a robot shark and call it a day.