The US-owned USS Portland Amphibious Wharf was successfully piloting the high-energy laser gun in the Pacific Ocean on 16 May 2020.
The U.S. Navy battleships have successfully tested new high-energy laser guns that can destroy aircraft in the middle of the flight, said U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet in the statement, Friday (22/5), which CNN quoted.
The images and videos released by the Navy have been shown to be a amphibious wharf aboard the USS Portland that executed the “first-rate system implementation of a high-energy class laser” to disable the drone, the statement said.
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The pictures show the laser coming from the battleship deck. A short video clip shows what appears to be a burning drone.
The Navy did not provide the location details of the test demonstrator the laser gun system, just saying the test was done in the Pacific on May 16.
The strength of the weapon was also not disclosed, but the 2018 report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies said it had its power to reach 150 kilowatts.
“By conducting advanced marine tests on drones and small aircraft, we will get valuable information about the capabilities demonstrator the laser weapon system against potential threats,” Captain Karrey Sanders, commander of Portland, said in that statement, reported by CNN.
“With this new sophisticated ability, we redefine war in the sea for the Navy.”
The navy said the laser, which it called directed energy Weapons (DEW), or the directional energy weapon, could be an effective defense against a drone or an armed small aircraft.
“The development of DEW naval, such as demonstrator laser Gun system, provides direct warfare benefits and gives the commander an increase in decision space and response options,” according to the statement.
Earlier in 2017, the US also tested a 30 kilowatt laser gun aboard the amphibious carrier USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf.
At the time, Lieutenant Cale Hughes, an officer of the laser weapon system, explained how it works to CNN that was present in the trial.
“The weapon threw a large amount of photons into the object,” said Hughes. “We weren’t worried about the wind, we weren’t worried about the distance, we weren’t worried about anything else. We can lock the target with the speed of light. “
“It’s more precise than a bullet,” said Captain Christopher Wells told CNN.
“This is not a special weapon system like some other weapons that we have throughout the military, where a weapon is only good for air contact, or just good for a surface target, or just good for land-based targets. It is a very versatile weapon, it can be used against various targets. “
The attack made by the weapon was discreet and invisible.
“It operates in the invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum so we do not see its highlights. The weapon also does not emit sound, is completely silent and very effective in its function, “said Hughes.
The weapon is very precise. “I was able to steer it at a certain point on the target, and paralyze and destroy as needed,” Wells said.
“I no longer need to worry about attacks that might go beyond the target and potentially ruin the things I don’t want me to break.”
The US $40 million system only needs to operate a power supply, which comes from its own small generator, and has three crew members. There are no millions of dollar missiles, no ammo at all.
Cost per use? “It’s about one dollar per shot,” Hughes said.
The ship USS Ponce later retired from the year-end service.