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Published: Dec 11, 2014
[VIDEO] US Navy LaWS laser cleared for combat; weapon blows up a boat and small plane
by Maria Gomez

[VIDEO] US Navy LaWS laser cleared for combat; weapon blows up a boat and small plane, On Wednesday the U.S. Navy announced it successfully tested its first laser weapon aboard the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf.

The laser weapon system is part of a $40 million research program to test directed energy weapons, and it is the first to be officially deployed and operated on a naval vessel.

Testing of the laser weapon system, dubbed LaWS by the Navy, happened from September to November aboard the Austin-class amphibious transport dock.

Implementation of the weapon is not only considered historic, a release from the Navy said, but it also proves such a system could be "operated seamlessly with existing ship defense systems."

During the tests, the LaWS hit targets on a small, speeding boat and shot an unmanned plane out of the sky.

The laser shot does not look like the photon torpedoes of Star Trek--in fact it looks like nothing at all. The energy beam is invisible (and costs the Navy $0.59 per shot, according to the Wall Street Journal). A press release states that the laser weapon system is able to hit targets out of the sky and at sea in high winds, heat, and humidity without fail.

After showing the weapon can be utilized and installed within existing defense systems, the Navy said it plans to advance the development of other laser prototypes that can be fitted on guided-missile destroyers and the Littoral Combat Ship by the early 2020s.

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