The United States Navy released a video on Friday, May 22, in a tweet of the USS Portland – LPD 27, an amphibious vessel of the American Navy, firing from inside a shot of a laser cannon.
According to the navy, the firing was an experiment to demonstrate the successful deactivation of a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). The equipment used was a Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD, Laser Weapon System Demonstrator), developed by Northrop Grumman.
— U.S. Pacific Fleet (@USPacificFleet) May 22, 2020
According to the tweet, the ship was in the Pacific Ocean when the test took place. The target was a drone commanded by the navy itself to demonstrate how the reaction would be when faced with a real threat. According to the disclosure, the shooting led to the successful deactivation of the target.
The operational use of LWSD on board a Pacific Fleet ship is the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser.
“By conducting advanced tests at sea against UAV’s and small boats, we will gain valuable insights into the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapon System Demonstrator against potential threats,” said Captain Karrey Sanders, Portland commander.
It is worth mentioning that the equipment is not intended for the destruction of large enemy vessels, but to neutralize threats to missions, such as UAVs, small armed vessels and intelligence, surveillance and recognition systems for adversaries.
The US Navy has been developing Targeted Energy Weapons (DEW) including lasers like this one used since the 1960s. DEWs are electromagnetic systems capable of converting chemical or electrical energy into radiated energy and, by focusing it on a target, result in the physical damage it destroys neutralizes or defeats the opponent’s resources.