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07:43 AM, July 18, 2017
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US Navy Deploys World’s First Active Laser Weapon System
Laser Weapon System test fire on USS Ponce in 2014 (Image: US Navy Research on Youtube)

The US Navy test-fired the world’s first active laser weapon system (LaWS), capable of travelling at the speed of light to destroy incoming missiles.

The LaWS is capable of travelling at 50000 times faster the speed of an Inter-continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The weapon system was deployed on board USS Ponce transport ship in the Persian Gulf, CNN reported Tuesday.

"It is more precise than a bullet… It's not a niche weapon system like some other weapons that we have throughout the military where it's only good against air contacts, or it's only good against surface targets, or it's only good against, you know, ground-based targets — in this case this is a very versatile weapon, it can be used against a variety of targets," Christopher Wells, the ship captain was quoted as saying by the broadcaster.

The laser beam is invisible to the human eye, makes no sound, and travels at the speed of light, making it unnecessary to lead its target.

"It really is a point and shoot," said Lt. Cale Hughes. "We see it, we focus on it, and we can negate that target."

The $40 million system has a three-person crew and runs off its own electrical generator. It needs no ammunition and costs "about a dollar a shot," Hughes said as opposed to $1 million per Tomahawk cruise missile.

The Navy next has its laser sights set on shooting down missiles, but, CNN reported, those missions remain classified.

 

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