The Pentagon has plans to deploy its first ever ship-mounted laser next year, a disruptive, cutting-edge weapon capable of obliterating small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles with a blast of infrared energy.
Navy officials announced Monday that in early 2014, a solid-state laser prototype will be mounted to the fantail of the USS Ponce and sent to the 5th fleet region in the Middle East for real-world experience.
Video released by the Navy shows the laser lock onto a slow-moving target, in this case an unmanned drone, which bursts aflame in mid-flight. The drone soon catches fire and crashes into the sea below.
“It operates much like a blowtorch … with an unlimited magazine,” one official said.
Also in the Navy’s futuristic arsenal: a so-called “rail gun,” which uses an electomagnetic current to accelerate a non-explosive bullet at several times the speed of sound. Railguns are even further off in the distance, possibly by 2025, the Navy has said.
But lasers? Forget Buck Rogers and the 25th century. They’re here today.
Full article: The future is now: Navy to deploys lasers on ships in 2014 (Fox News)