Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Navy Tests Laser Weapon on Drones, Boats ... and it Works Just Fine

The Navy is testing a new laser it is developing by using it on targets such as drones and small boats in the Persian Gulf.
Top Navy leaders say the laser could become a critical defense on a future generation of warships and offers great potential as a precise and economical weapon. A single shot from the laser could bring down a drone or blow up the engine of a small boat, officials said.
Adm. Jon Greenert aboard the USS Ponce. U.S. Navy 
The prototype Laser Weapon System developed by the Office of Naval Research has proved cost-effective, and is less expensive to operate than many other systems, said Adm. Jon Greenert, chief of naval operations.
Each shot from the prototype laser was 59 cents, said Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research. Using a Standard Missile-2, a common surface-to-air weapon, would cost the Navy roughly $400,000.
The Navy recently finished its three-month test in the Persian Gulf on the USS Ponce, outfitted with the prototype laser. Navy officials said the Gulf’s heat, humidity and dust make it a difficult environment for naval vessels. Some researchers worried the conditions would hurt the laser’s performance.
Adm. Jon Greenert gets a look at the laser system on the 
USS Ponce, tested for three months in the Persian Gulf. 
U.S. Navy
“The only way to know if this is effective is to get it in the Gulf,” Adm. Greenert said.
As a result of the test, Navy officials said they planned to deploy the weapon into the Middle East for a year aboard the Ponce, allowing sailors to use the system to track potential threats and defend the ship.
“We have the authorities right now to use it in self-defense,” Adm. Klunder said. “If someone was coming to harm the USS Ponce, we could use this laser system on that threat and we would intend to do so.”
Read the rest of the story HERE and view a related video below:

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