U.S. News


Navy Installs Laser Prototype On Persian Gulf Ship

The Navy is developing laser technology for ships that would be able to take out small boats and flying drones.
Posted at 1:01 PM, Apr 08, 2014

The Navy plans to test a new futuristic weapon that could be used to take drones out of the sky.

The Laser Weapons System uses directed energy bursts to hit airborne targets, light them on fire, and ultimately send them falling back to Earth.

A press release issued by the Navy Monday says the technology has been tested and proven to work already. In 2011, the laser successfully defeated several small boat threats, and in 2012, it took out an unmanned aircraft. 


Engadget points out the new technology uses a video game-like controller and is extremely inexpensive, running only $1 per shot.

Unlike the Navy, the Missile Defense Agency has not had much luck with its airborne laser program, which was canceled last year.  The Missile Defense Agency's laser program has been under development for more than 15 years and taken $5 billion in federal funding.  The Navy's system was more viable because its "desired targets with the Laser Weapon System are far smaller and slower."

Three industry teams have been selected to build prototypes.  Those teams include Northrup Grumman, BAE Systems and Raytheon Corp. The Navy will decide next year whether any of the prototypes are ready for ship installation and further testing.