A U.S. Navy ship destroyed a flying drone with a laser weapon in the Pacific Ocean and there is an actual video of the scene released on Twitter by the U.S. Navy.
The USS Portland (LPD-27) used its Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) against an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) last week, the Navy revealed. The demonstration was the first such use of a high-energy class solid-state 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," U.S. Navy Capt. Karrey Sanders, the ship's commanding officer, said in a statement.
The Navy revealed that its ships have been facing an increasing number of threats "including UAVs, armed small boats, and adversary intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems." To address these issues, it has been developing directed-energy weapons (DEWs) since the 1960s.
DEWs include lasers and are defined as electromagnetic systems capable of converting chemical or electrical energy to radiated energy in order to degrade, neutralize, defeat, or destroy an adversarial target.
“The Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy while paving the way for future weapons systems, “ said Sanders. “With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy.”
The Navy recently had to deal with drones and even long-range missiles being fielded by rivals like China. The Navy's development of weapons like the LWSD provide the commander increased decision space and response options.
In related news, six months ago, Chilean protestors used lasers to bring down a police drone. It is speculated that between 40 to 50 lasers were being pointed at the drone; an impressive feat of teamwork and technology.