US unveils laser weapon that can bring down drones

"The future is here," says American Navy official of laser that will cost less than $1 per shot.

By REUTERS
April 9, 2013 13:35
1 minute read.
US laser weapon technology

US laser weapon technology. (photo credit: US Navy Illustration)

WASHINGTON - The US Navy said Monday it will deploy for the first time a laser weapon on one of its ships that could be capable of shooting down drones and disabling vessels.

"The future is here," said Peter Morrison at the Office of Naval Research's Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation Program.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The weapon is being billed as a step toward transforming warfare.

Since it runs on electricity, it can fire as long as there is power at a cost of less than $1 per shot.

"Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to fire a missile, and you can begin to see the merits of this capability," Chief of Naval Research Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, said in a statement.

The prototype, which one official said cost between $31 million and $32 million to make, will be installed aboard the USS Ponce, which is being used as a floating base in the Middle East, sometime in fiscal year 2014, which begins in October.



Klunder said the Navy expects that someday incoming missiles will not be able to "simply outmaneuver" a highly accurate laser beam traveling at the speed of light.

A new report from the Congressional Research Service praises the laser technology but also notes drawbacks, including the potential it could accidentally hit satellites or aircraft. Weather also affects lasers.

"Lasers might not work well, or at all, in rain or fog, preventing lasers from being an all-weather solution," it said in its report issued on March 14.


Related Content

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un
May 24, 2018
Canceling North Korea summit, Trump returns to talk of military options

By MICHAEL WILNER