Laser guns aren’t just the product of far out there sci-fi movies in Hollywood anymore. In fact, the US Navy has recently introduced a brand new laser weapons system currently armed on the USS Portland. If you haven’t checked out the video they released yet, it’s worth a look.
This weapon can destroy just about any plane as it flies through the air. They tested the laser weapon out back in May, 2020 on an unmanned drone over the Pacific Ocean. This is a first of its kind weapon to use what is considered a “high-energy class solid state” laser.
The Laser Weapons System
The new laser weapons system looks like a giant laser cannon of sorts. This direct energy weapon (DEW) laser has 150 kilowatts of power. It was designed to redefine how combat is fought on water. It can specifically target small aircraft, rockets, mortars, or armed boats.
The US Navy tested a similar laser weapon back in 2017 over the Persian Gulf on the USS Ponce, a transport ship. This system had 30 kilowatts of laser power. Time and research is clearly producing more advanced and powerful weapons with each passing year. The Office of Naval Research and Northrop Grumman are responsible for the design. Incredibly, this new tech has the ability to attack a target at the speed of light, which is pretty impressive.
Different types of ammunition and missiles travel at various rates, but they clearly don’t travel as fast as a laser. Lasers can improve accuracy and timing for warfighters like never before. However, there are still challenges to overcome. Environmental factors can affect the performance of the laser in hitting the objective.
Of course, it does make you think of the “Star Wars” movies and how what we used to think was just the stuff of make believe movie magic is actually real right now.
The US Army and the Air Force are also working on laser weapons systems of their own. The Army plans on having theirs active by 2023.
Can We Expect Laser Guns in the Future?
So the next question is obviously, when will you be able to get your hands on your very own laser gun? Probably not anytime soon. Although, it’s fun to think about.
In fact, China is already a bit ahead of the game with a handheld laser gun that is similar in size to an AK-47. It’s mainly tested as a non-lethal weapon to burn human tissue (ouch!) or flammable clothing material. Either way, it’s clear that this technology is becoming more of a reality and less the imagination of science fiction writers.
Watch the incredibly demonstration below.