That’s one serious bug zapper.
Via the righteous folks at Task & Purpose, here’s future warfare in action: U.S. Navy amphibious transport USS Portland successfully frying a drone right out of the sky with a laser gun on May 16, 2020.
The Navy announced the test result on Friday, May 22nd, writing in a blog post that the “LWSD is a high-energy laser weapon system demonstrator developed by the Office of Naval Research and installed on Portland for an at-sea demonstration.” This is the “first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser” in this situation, as well.
Northrup Grumman was behind the laser’s development. Portland commanding officer Capt. Karrey Sanders said that the point in blasting drones (aka UAVs, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) out of the sky was to “gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats.”
This comes at an interesting time for the American military, as the Washington Post reported—also on Friday—that the current US administration “has discussed whether to conduct the first U.S. nuclear test explosion since 1992,” for some damn reason.
Whatever happens, the next enemy who encounters a Navy ship should be wary of the fact that they are now shooting frickin’ laser beams, and that is some next-level Star Wars stuff. [T&P]