In a statement on Friday, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet said that USS Portland, an amphibious transport dock ship owned by the US Navy has successfully tested a new high-energy laser weapon that can destroy aircraft mid-flight.
Images and videos provided by the Navy show the USS Portland executing “the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser” to disable an aerial drone aircraft, the statement said.
The Navy, however, 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.
Furthermore, the images show the laser emanating from the deck of the warship. Short video clips also show what appears to be the drone burning.
The power of the weapon was not disclosed, but a 2018 report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies said it was expected to be a 150-kilowatt laser.
Capt. Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of Portland, in a statement, said “By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small crafts, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats.”
“With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy.”
The Navy says lasers, which it calls directed energy weapons (DEW), can be effective defenses against drones or armed small boats.
“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.
Edited from an article written by Brad Lendon, CNN