A US Navy warship has successfully tested a new high-energy laser weapon that can destroy aircraft mid-flight, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet said in a statement Friday.
Images and videos provided by the Navy show the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland executing “the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser” to disable an aerial drone aircraft, the statement said.
The images show the laser emanating from the deck of the warship. Short video clips show what appears to be the drone burning.
The Navy did not give a specific location of the laser weapons system demonstrator (LWSD) test, saying only that it occurred in the Pacific on May 16.
The power of the weapon was not disclosed, but a 2018 report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies said it was expected to be a 150-kilowatt laser.
“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,” Capt.
Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of Portland, said in the statement.
“With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy.”
The Navy says lasers, which it calls directed energy weapons (DEW), can be effective defenses against drones or armed small boats.
“The Navy’s development of DEWs like the LWSD provide immediate warfighter benefits and provide the commander increased decision space and response options,” the statement said.