The Pentagon on Monday announced plans to launch a ship-mounted laser that can wipe out enemy combatants.
The solid-state laser prototype will be attached to the backside of the USS Ponce in early 2014. The laser will be used in the Middle East.
The new device uses cutting-edge technology that can obliterate unmanned aircrafts and small boats with a blast of solid-state infrared energy.
An official for the US Navy describes the weapon as a “blowtorch” with an “unlimited magazine.”
The US Navy is claiming a success rate of 100 percent after destroying 12 out of 12 targets during testing.
The device is officially known as a “directed energy pulse weapon,” and, besides blowing up targets, it can also be used as a non-lethal warning system.
While the laser-based device costs $32 million to acquire, the cost of firing the weapon is just $1 per use, far less expensive than traditional heavy artillery.
The US Navy has not revealed other uses for the laser. For example, can the weapon take out fighter jets and enemy missiles? Can the weapon work in bad weather conditions? The USS Ponce assignment will ultimately determine the viability of the laser in real world conditions.
If the weapon is successful during early testing, it will be painted grey and permanently mounted to the backside of the USS Ponce.
Here is a video demonstration of the laser weapons system:
The solid-state laser follows closely with the “rail gun” that US Forces are currently working to develop. The rail gun uses electromagnetic current to accelerate a non-explosive bullet at several times the speed of sound.
Rail Gun technology isn’t expected for release until sometime in 2025 and only then if scientists can perfect the technology for quick and effective in-field use.
Do you think laser technology will ultimately take over as the weapon of choice?