Feature

A laser blaster to protect the Navy

The Navy's laser blaster uses directed energy to burn holes through enemy vessels at sea or in the air.

The Navy will deploy an experimental laser attack weapon in the Persian Gulf to deter Iran from using drones and speedboats to attack American warships. The $40 million prototype, which will be installed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Ponce, uses directed energy to burn holes through enemy vessels at sea or in the air; a blast costs a fraction of what a missile would. In testing, the weapon has succeeded in destroying 12 out of 12 of its drone and small boat targets, officials say. The Gulf swarms with attack boats; in 2000, one such boat laden with explosives was driven into the USS Cole in Yemen, killing 17 sailors. The laser weapon should be operational sometime next year. 

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