A new high-energy laser weapon capable of destroying aircrafts mid-flight has been successfully tested on a US Navy warship.

The Navy’s Pacific Fleet revealed the new weapon in a series of pictures and videos which show USS Portland executing ‘the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser’ used to disable an aerial done aircraft.

Although the Navy has opted not to reveal the power of the new weapon, a report dating back to 2018 in the International Institute for Strategic Studies said it believed the laser would be 150-kilowatt.

Again, the Navy didn’t reveal the location in which the weapon was tested, choosing only to reveal that it happened in the Pacific Ocean on May 16.

Pictures show the laser coming from the deck of the amphibious transport dock ship, while videos show what appears to be the drone burning as a result of the attack.

Captain Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of Portland, said in a statement:

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.

The Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy, while paving the way for future weapons systems.

With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy.

The lasers are being referred to as ‘directed energy weapons’ or ‘DEW’ and are said to be effective against small armed boats or the use of drones.

The statement continued:

The Navy’s development of DEWs like the laser weapons system demonstrator (LWSD) provide immediate warfighter benefits and provide the commander increased decision space and response options.

Back in 2017, the US Navy tested a 30-kilowatt laser weapon from the amphibious transport ship USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf.

US Navy
US Navy

At the time, Lieutenant Cale Hughes told CNN how they work:

It is throwing massive amounts of photons at an incoming object.

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.

Later that year, the USS Ponce was retired from service within the US Navy.


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