US Navy has revealed that it has successful deployed first Laser Weapon System (LaWS) thanks to Office of Naval Research (ONR). The system was deployed on a US Naval vessel, USS Ponce (LPD-15), in Arabian Gulf from September to November 2014.
The whole project is part of the Solid-State-Laser-Technology Maturation program by ONR and has been developed as part of the efforts by US Military to come up with a combat ready and cost effective laser prototype. As per Navy, LaWS is capable of tackling small attack boats, UAVs and other asymmetric targets while also featuring a wide variety of settings that vary from simply dazzling sensors and people without annihilating them to disabling or destroying targets. The system can engage with foes at the speed of light and doesn’t require any ammunition. It operates for as long as the power is turned on and here is the best part; the cost of a single shot round is one dollar.
Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, Chief of Naval Research, stated that this system makes it possible for the US Navy and Marines to never be in a ‘fair fight’. The laser has already been tested against a number of targets that included small boats and moving targets at sea. Reportedly, the laser also tracked down a flying Scan Eagle UAV from the sky.
According to Navy, LaWS worked better than expected in context of reliability and maintainability. It integrated easily with the Ponce’s current defense system and as per the sailors aboard the Ponce, the laser worked exceptionally great in different weather conditions. Klunder informed, “Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations. We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”
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