Navy Laser Weapons System
Navy’s laser weapons system takes out drone at sea…
In the pursuit of new high-tech weaponry, the U.S Navy is working on a modification to the MK 15 Close In Weapon System (CIWS), also known as the Phalanx, which can take down enemy aircraft and vessels at sea.
The new laser upgrade, known as the Laser Weapons System (LaWS) “successfully tracked, engaged, and destroyed” a drone in midflight in recent tests over the waters off San Nicholas Island, Calif.
Laser Weapons System
The LaWS adds 6 lasers concentrated into one high-powered beam, as well as a few tweaks to the CIWS – a radar-guided autocannon developed by Raytheon that is already installed on Navy surface combatants such as the USS Kitty Hawk.
The LaWS offers several benefits over the Phalanx’s 20mm autocannon including; zero time of flight; a greater maximum range; and no 20mm shower from spent rounds.
Despite the advancements in technology, the LaWS will not replace the Phalanx, instead it will ‘complement’ the existing CIWS which will remain as a last line of defense against sea-skimming anti-ship missiles and hostile aircraft should the laser fail to do its job.
The LaWS is not the first laser weapons system, nor the first next-gen weapon developed for military use. Boeing’s land-based Laser Avenger mounted on a Humvee has also proved successful in shooting down moving targets.
The Navy’s has also had success with its 10 mega joule Rail Gun designed to replace the standard 5-inch guns on most of their ships.
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