Laser gun: US Navy unveils new weapon with video showing speedboat explosion

The footage shows a test aircraft being taken out by the weapon

The US Navy has announced that a new laser weapon it tested earlier this year was a success, and has released footage of the machine in action.

A video of the laser weapon system (Laws), released by the Office of Naval Research, shows the laser being deployed aboard USS Ponce in September in the Persian Gulf.

It shows the weapon being used against two test targets, including a speedboat which bursts into flames. Other targets were located at sea and in the air, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones.

Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, said in a statement on Wednesday that the “powerful” Laws system will “play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations”, the Daily Caller reported.

The prototype weapon in the video cost $40 million to produce, dealt with a “tough” pace, adverse weather conditions including a sandstorm, and destroyed targets” with “near-instantaneous lethality.”

Officials claim the weapon is capable of destroying its targets with pin-point accuracy.

Video courtesy of US Navy/Office of Naval Research.

The laser, which was installed on the USS Ponce over the summer, has been in development for years, according to Navy officials.

Klunder acknowledged that it took a while to get the rules of engagement needed to use the gun approved in the Pentagon. But now, the captain of the USS Ponce could use it against a real threat if required, he said.

Klunder did not give details on the range of Laws but did say that humans were not a target of the weapon, under stipulations of the Geneva Convention.

The weapon, which utilizes a solid state infrared beam of energy to cripple or destroy targets, was tested over the past few months.

According to the Office of Naval Research, the system performed flawlessly.

Operated using a video game controller, the system hit targets mounted aboard small boats speeding towards the ship. In a separate test, the laser targeted and shot a drone out of the sky.

The Navy say that laser weapons are a pivotal tool for defending its fleets in the future from small boat, missile, and drone attacks and hope to deploy combat-ready laser prototypes by the early 2020s.

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