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US Navy Touts New Laser Weapon
And plans to test it next year in the Middle East
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2013 7:07 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Navy officials announced a new laser weapon today, saying it's designed to destroy small boats and send aerial vehicles crashing into the sea, Fox News reports. A prototype will be mounted on the USS Ponce and tried out in the 5th fleet region of the Middle East next year. The Navy also released a video of the laser locking on an unmanned drone and causing it to catch fire and crash. "It operates much like a blowtorch ... with an unlimited magazine," said an official.

At about $32 million each, the weapon is far cheaper than the Air Force's abandoned $1.5 billion nose-mounted lasers—and Navy researchers say their version hit every time in testing. But it fares less well in bad weather, requires a direct line of sight to the target, and could be rendered ineffective by a drone or vessel coated with a reflective surface, the New York Times reports. Meanwhile, the Navy is looking into a more versatile free-electron laser and a "rail gun" that fires bullets several times faster than the speed of sound.

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Apr 9, 2013 3:35 PM CDT
Put one in orbit and burn Kim Un into a little greasy spot from space. 5 to 10 years from now these things will be on fighter jets and carried like a rifle by soldiers. Expensive, but you know the government paid about 4 times what it was really worth just like the 600 toliet seat.
Apr 9, 2013 3:29 PM CDT
Good news. Thankfully a functional system that is inexpensive. Pointed vertically, it locks-on to aerial objects and pointed horizontally it will lock-on to land-based objects. Hopefully the navy understands that it can also engage with land-based targets as well.
Apr 9, 2013 9:18 AM CDT
First thing that came to mind, but then I do like British gangster movies.