US successfully tests a laser weapon that can destroy aircraft mid-flight

WION Web Team New York, New York, United States of America May 23, 2020, 03.28 PM(IST)

Laser weapon Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The Navy, in a statement on Friday, said lasers, which it calls directed energy weapons (DEW), can be effective defences against drones or armed small boats.

A US Navy warship has successfully tested a new high-energy laser weapon that can destroy aircraft mid-flight.

The Navy, in a statement on Friday, said lasers, which it calls directed energy weapons (DEW), can be effective defences against drones or armed small boats.

Images and videos provided by the Navy's Pacific Fleet, 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 power of the weapon is expected to be a 150-kilowatt laser. The images show the laser emanating from the deck of the warship.

The Navy, in the statement, 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 US Navy has been developing directed-energy weapons (DEWs), to include lasers, since the 1960s.

DEWs are defined as electromagnetic systems capable of converting chemical or electrical energy to radiated energy and focusing it on a target, resulting in physical damage that degrades, neutralises, defeats, or destroys an adversarial capability.

"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.

The Navy says lasers, which it calls directed energy weapons (DEW), can be effective defences against drones or armed small boats.