Directed Energy Weapons
Navy Laser Weapon System LaWS will be deployed in 2014

Published on Apr 9, 2013

The U.S. Navy has unveiled a futuristic new ship mounted infrared laser weapon that officials say could be used to shoot down drones and disable other ships, all without significant costs for ammunition.

The Navy said it intends to deploy the weapon, the Laser Weapons System (LaWS), to the Persian Gulf area in 2014 in what some are saying is a response to Iran's ongoing development of a fleet of drones.

Navy officials will install the high-powered laser weapon on the USS Ponce, which is responsible for naval operations in the Persian Gulf area and the Horn of Africa, over the next year, according to NBC News. The laser will become fully operational by summer 2014.

Officials said LaWS may initially be used for encounters with antagonizing small boats and vessels, which Iran has been known to operate, that pose a threat to larger Navy ships. But the high-powered new technology could eventually be used to combat airborne threats, including missiles and drones.

The firepower released from LaWS, in the form of a high-powered infrared laser, can strike down drones in seconds flat.

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Archive Gallery:
The Twentieth Century's Best Kept Military Secrets

Laser Weapons: March 1972

Although military applications of lasers were kept largely a secret, we published an article that pieced together bits of information to conclude that laser radiation weapons would soon reach perfection. We reported that military researchers had used a laser beam to shoot down a drone. Additionally, the Air Force thought it possible to build a space-based laser system that would guide missiles into targeted countries. Military planners also cooked up a laser defense system, which would disable incoming missiles in just seconds. Just nine years later, however, President Reagan's controversial Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars") would research lasers as defensive weapons and test concepts for an X-ray laser beam. Read the full story in "Laser Weapons -- How Close Are We?"

SOURCE: Popular Science
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