U.S. Navy recently tested the world’s first-ever active Laser Weapons System (LaWS). It is $40 million system which is currently deployed on board the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship in the Persian Gulf.
About Laser Weapons System LaWS:
The system has special materials that release photons at the speed of light that silently hits a target, burning it to a temperature of thousands of degrees.
- Each strike travels 50,000 times the speed of an incoming intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM).
- LaWS has high accuracy rate. The system can target a single component of an enemy target, such as a boat’s engine, and make it catch fire so that the entire vessel does not have to be destroyed and the Navy can avoid collateral damage.
- Its cost per use is approximately $1 per shot. The system requires electrical power and a three-man team to operate.
- Strikes from LaWS are silent and invisible. It is primarily intended to hit drones, aircraft, and small vessels that could be used in an attack from countries such as Iran and North Korea.
- LaWS can be used against air-borne as well as ground-based targets.
- It is composed of commercial laser components and proprietary Navy software. Its powerful optics is also useful as a surveillance tool that can detect objects at tactically significant ranges.
- The system is operated through a flat screen monitor and a gaming system-like controller integrated into the ship’s combat system
- During testing of functions in a maritime environment, it has functioned well against heat, humidity, dust and salt water.
US Navy is developing more powerful, second-generation systems which would be capable of hitting more significant targets.
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- President: Donald Trump