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U.S. Navy's New Laser Gun Takes Down an Unmanned Drone

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Published on Apr 9, 2013

Science fiction becomes reality as U.S Navy showcases laser weapons capable of destroying drones within seconds that will be in use as early as 2014. Science fiction fans and military scientists have dreamed of using lasers as weapons for decades, but from next summer it will become a reality.

The U.S. Navy announced on Monday that it will attach a prototype of its Laser Weapons System (LaWS) to USS Ponce and send the amphibious transport docking ship to the Middle East in 2014.

This will be the first time a laser weapon is used in active service. The blast of infrared energy it delivers can disable a small boat or even take down a drone from above as an impressive Navy video shows.

The solid-state laser prototype doesn't use up expensive ammunition so is cheap to operate. 'Its weapon round costs about $1 to shoot,' said Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, a Navy researcher.

However, LaWS costs more to build in the first place - at around $32 million per unit.

But NBC reported that once this new weapon is operational is may be able to replace a Gatling gun, whose rounds can cost several thousand dollars each.

The video released today shows the potentially devastating form of the new weapon. In the demonstration the laser locks onto an unmanned drone and fires a blinding light.

Within seconds the 'enemy craft' is ablaze. As the flames take hold the drone crashes into the sea.

The new weapon will be mounted to the fantail of the USS Ponce and sent to the 5th fleet region which includes the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa.

The Navy hopes that the laser will be invaluable in combating the small Iranian fast boats and surveillance drones that harass U.S. vessels in the area.

Officials hope that in the next decade the new weapon will be able to shoot down an incoming missile.

Though there are some concerns with the system. Officers are not yet sure how the laser will function under inclement weather conditions and think that the 5th fleet region will be a huge test for the new weapon.

Officials refused to reveal the range of the laser but hinted it was a 'close in' system. The Navy also said the weapon could also have non-lethal functions, such as sending warning signals to other boats.

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