US navy has demonstrated a ship-mounted laser weapon system in the Persian Gulf, off the coast of Iran, capable of destroying targets on speeding boats or even aircraft with pin-point accuracy, it told reporters Wednesday.
The laser weapon is 30 kilowatts in power, which makes it 30m times more powerful than a hand-held laser pointer. It can be run at lower power, to “dazzle” – which disrupts or damages sensors and instruments – or at full power to destroy targets.
In a video of the demonstration, the device is shown targeting a mounted missile on a speeding boat, and then first dazzling, then destroying, an unmanned aerial drone in mid-flight.
The navy was keen to point out that this was not just a scientific test – the laser device is fully operational. “We’re not testing any more – it’s working,” Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, the chief of naval research, said in a press conference at the Pentagon Wednesday.
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