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A laser weapon system has been showcasing some unusual capabilities. The US Navy test-fired the world’s first active laser weapon system (LaWS), capable of travelling at the speed of light to destroy incoming missiles.
According to defenseworld.net, the LaWS is capable of travelling at 50000 times faster the speed of an Inter-continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The weapon system was deployed on board USS Ponce transport ship in the Persian Gulf.
For the test, USS Ponce crew launched the target — a aircraft, a weapon in increasing use by Iran, North Korea, China, Russia and other adversaries, reports the CNN.
“It is more precise than a bullet… It’s not a niche weapon system like some other weapons that we have throughout the military where it’s only good against air contacts, or it’s only good against surface targets, or it’s only good against, you know, ground-based targets — in this case this is a very versatile weapon, it can be used against a variety of targets,” Christopher Wells, the ship captain was quoted as saying by CNN.
The laser beam is invisible to the human eye, makes no sound, and travels at the speed of light, making it unnecessary to lead its target.
The $40 million system has a three-person crew and runs off its own electrical generator. It needs no ammunition and costs “about a dollar a shot,” said Lt. Cale Hughes, as opposed to $1 million per Tomahawk cruise missile.
The Navy next has its laser sights set on shooting down missiles, but, CNN reported, those missions remain classified.