Headlines: U.S. Navy to Test Laser Weapon System This Summer

April 10, 2014 – The arms race doesn’t just include railgun naval technology. Add to it a new laser weapon that will be going to sea in the Persian Gulf on the USS Ponce (pictured below) this summer.




Called LaWS, short for Laser Weapon System, it fires a directed energy beam at a target. The operator sits behind a video-game console and can choose a degree of intensity from disable the target to destroy it.

The U.S. Navy has been testing LaWS for three years. It has been used to disable everything from small boats to destroyer-sized ships. It has even downed unmanned test aircraft. If the summer sea trial works then the U.S. will deploy LaWS on a variety of ships in its fleet including guided-missile destroyers and the Littoral Combat Ship, the navy’s newest stealth technology.

LaWS  looks like a telescope. It uses fiber solid state lasers and is directed by an operator who coordinates targets using radar tracking systems.





Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...


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