The U.S. Navy announced Friday it had successfully completed a test of a new high-energy laser weapon. Naval footage shows the laser acquire and take down a drone in flight. The test confirms the weapon system will eventually be able to take down enemy aircraft as well.

Navy Laser Test Firing Proves Successful

Naval footage and imagery show the USS Portland effectively firing a high-energy laser weapon system demonstrator, according to a Navy release. The Solid State Laser – Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) takes down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during the test that occurred May 16.

“By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small craft, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats,” said Capt. Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of USS Portland.

The U.S. Navy first began working on directed-energy weapons (DEWs), including lasers, in the 1960s. The Navy defines DEWs as electromagnetic systems that convert chemical or electrical energy to radiated energy. Those weapons focus the radiated energy on a target. It results in physical damage that degrades, neutralizes, defeats or destroys, according to a Navy release.

“The Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy, while paving the way for future weapons systems, “ said Sanders. “With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy.”

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