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US Successfully Tests Laser Weapon That Can Destroy Aircraft Mid-Flight

May 23, 2020

(CNN) — A US Navy warship has successfully tested a new high-energy laser weapon that can destroy aircraft mid-flight, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet said in a statement Friday.

Images and videos provided by the Navy show the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland executing “the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser” to disable an aerial drone aircraft, the statement said.

The images show the laser emanating from the deck of the warship. Short video clips show what appears to be the drone burning.

The Navy did not give a specific location of the laser weapons system demonstrator (LWSD) test, saying only that it occurred in the Pacific on May 16.

The power of the weapon was not disclosed, but a 2018 report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies said it was expected to be a 150-kilowatt laser.

“By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small crafts, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats,” Capt. Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of Portland, said in the statement.

“With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy.”

The Navy says lasers, which it calls directed energy weapons (DEW), can be effective defenses against drones or armed small boats.

“The Navy’s development of DEWs like the LWSD provide immediate warfighter benefits and provide the commander increased decision space and response options,” the statement said.

In 2017, CNN witnessed a live-fire exercise of a 30-kilowatt laser weapon aboard the amphibious transport ship USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf.

At the time, Lt. Cale Hughes, a laser weapons system officer, described how they work.

“It is throwing massive amounts of photons at an incoming object,” Hughes said. “We don’t worry about wind, we don’t worry about range, we don’t worry about anything else. We’re able to engage the targets at the speed of light.”

The Ponce was retired from service later that year.

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Posted: May 23, 2020 / 02:28 PM PDT Updated: May 23, 2020 / 02:17 PM PDT

Commentary by Leonard Bacani:
This laser system is a complete game changer. Most accurate, most cost effective, least expensive (cost is one dollar per shot) weapon system in the US military arsenal. Logical thinking dictates that if this weapon system can be mounted on a ship, it may eventually be mounted on a satellite. Can you understand why US Space Force is so critical to provide for our national defense? It would have the capability to knock out rogue or hostile nations’ intercontinental ballistic missiles or rockets from space.  We could also knock out hostile nations’ (who may also have developed direct energy weapons)  satellites directed at our satellites, our nation or at our allied partners. #PeaceThroughStrenth  

Leonard Bacani is a retired Santa Ana Police Officer and the Founder of HOMELAND SECURITY SERVICES, INC. headquartered in Southern California.HOMELAND SECURITY SERVICES, INC. is a Private InvestigationPrivate Security firm and State Authorized Training Facility. Contact Leonard at LBacani@hssinc.us for assistance or call the office: (714) 865-1135.      Website: http://www.homelandsecurityservices.com

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