US Navy Disables Drone With High-Powered Laser

US Navy Disables Drone With High-Powered Laser

US Navy Disables Drone With High-Powered Laser

USS Portland (LPD-27) is the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship of the United States Navy. Short video clips show what appears to be the drone burning.

A US Navy warship has successfully tested a new high-energy laser weapon that can destroy aircraft mid-flight.

Smoke begins to billow out of the damaged drone as it helplessly tumbles out of the air.

The weapon onboard the Portland is officially known as a Solid State Laser - Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) MK 2 MOD 0.

"With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy", the Portland's Captain Sanders said.

The LWSD, developed by United States defense contractor Northrop Grumman and the Office of Naval Research, was lauded in the release as "the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser".

The mounting configuration of the laser aboard USS Portland.

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Developed by the Office of Naval Research and Northrop Grumman as a successor to the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) - the military's first fully approved laser platform - the LWSD was deployed to the Portland in 2019 soon after the ship was commissioned, where it's undergone a series of tests.

RT reports that the contract to produce the weapon with Northrop Group was worth $53million, with a total budget of $91million granted to the project over almost three years of development.

The outlet's December report detailed that the Portland's demonstration - delayed after being originally scheduled for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019 - would test a number of components for the weapons system, including its cooling equipment, power generation and beam director.

In addition to LWSD's ability to take down small boats and drones, it can also function as a 'dazzler, ' so it can blind enemy sensors while integrated video cameras can simultaneously conduct surveillance.

While the Portland is now the only warship equipped with the LWSD, arms contractor Lockheed Martin is working on a similarly powerful 150-kilowatt laser, which the Navy said could be deployed for testing later this year on the littoral combat ship USS Little Rock, but gave no exact time frame for when that might happen.

Lieutenant Cale Hughes, a laser weapons system officer, told CNN in 2017 that the 30-kilowatt laser weapon on board the Ponce, which has since been retired from service, was like "throwing massive amounts of photons at an incoming object", allowing the Navy to "engage the targets at the speed of light".

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