LaWS Phalanx Lasers Down Drone

The time when guns and cannons will spit out rays of light instead of solid projectiles is upon us... Or, at least, this is the time when we start hearing of them, who knows... Last year, we brought you news of a laser system mounted on an Avenger combat vehicle being used to shoot down a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). But that was Army business.

Now, it's Navy's turn to step in. During the Farnborough International Air Show 2010 in the UK, the Navy demonstrated a mutant laser system, made by combining the Navy's Laser Weapons System (LaWS) with the sensor suite on Raytheon's Phalanx Close-in Weapon System. The result?

A hell of a weapon. Whereas up until now the system has been tested against stationary targets, this is among the first shots taken by the Phalanx at a moving object. The test was successful, as the video below shows, but, as you will see for yourself, lacks the visual glory of say Star Wars battles. Hell, you don't even see the laser beam...

"It's not like shooting a missile or a bullet at a target where you have an explosion," John Eagles, spokesman for Raytheon told LiveScience. "This laser brings high energy onto the target and disrupts its flight by catching it on fire. You would like to get it to disintegrate the target in the air, but as long as you interrupt its flight, chances are it's not going to get to where it was going."

Of course, the results of the test, such as the range to where the system is effective, were not made public. The next step will be fitting the system onto an operational ship and, if successful, go for mass production.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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