Laser gun-equipped U.S. Navy ships can take down enemy drones like bugs from the sky

By Randell Suba
Tech Times  

Fiction turns to reality as the U.S. Navy has revealed plans to equip its ships with laser weapon systems and rail guns. Good news for the U.S., bad news for its enemies.  (Photo : Naval Sea Systems Command )

Fiction turns to reality as the U.S. Navy has revealed plans to equip its ships with laser weapon systems and rail guns. Good news for the U.S., bad news for its enemies. (Photo : Naval Sea Systems Command )

In the age of drones and ultra fast aircrafts, warfare also gets an adrenaline boost. The U.S. Navy has tapped laser technology ala “Star Wars” to make sure its assets has enough protection against the enemies.

The United States Navy has revealed that it will be equipping the USS Ponce with a laser weapon this summer. Aside from the laser, the military will also be testing a prototype of a rail gun. Good news for the military, bad news for the enemies.

The Office of Naval Research and other collaborators have developed the laser weapon system (LaWS) that will be tested on the Ponce. This laser weapon has been designed so it can be operated by a one sailor.

“So the primary focus is on laser systems. Of course, directed energy is a bit of a broader topic that also includes other things like high-powered radio frequency, high-powered microwave. But the Navy’s focus has been on laser systems,” said program manager for the Naval Sea Systems Command Captain Mike Ziv.

Ziv explained that the primary targets of the laser system will be small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles. The laser will not be shooting out powerful red, green, or blue laser beams but invisible rays that can burn through the enemies’ assets or destroy critical electronic components.

“What we really want to achieve is to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this system is ready to be operated in theatre, operated by our sailors, and ready to transition to be in broader use throughout the fleets. And I think we’re on track to get that done,” said Ziv. “One of the advantages of the laser system we’re using is that it’s based on commercial technologies. It’s fairly efficient compared to other lasers, and because of that, it can be powered on a lot of different platforms, using existing power sources.”

While the laser weapon system has been tested and successfully destroyed targets before, there are concerns from experts.

“The Navy says it’s found ways to deal with use of lasers in bad weather, but there’s little doubt that the range of the weapon would be reduced by clouds, dust or precipitation,” said Lexington Institute defense analyst Loren Thompson.

Then there are rail gun prototypes too being tested by the military. A rail gun can be considered a super gun since it can fire projectiles about seven times the speed of sound. While the projectiles from a rail gun can surely disable enemy vehicles and weapons, operating one requires a lot of electricity. There have been reports that the only naval ship of the U.S. that can produce enough power to operate a rail gun effectively is the Zumwait. It is still being built in Maine but the ship can produce enough power to power a medium-size metro and will not have a problem supplying the rail gun sufficient electricity.

What’s also good about these high-technology weapon systems is that they are relatively cheap, say compared to an F-35?

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/4205/20140311/laser-gun-equipped-us-navy-ships-can-take-down-enemy-drones-like-bugs-from-the-sky.htm


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