US Navy successfully tests giant laser against drones

Laser guns are among the most entertaining sci-fi futuristic mainstays in video games. It’s always awesome to be walking around some game only to pick up a massive laser cannon, like Halo’s Spartan Laser, ready to ruin your enemies’ day. Although this guy only needs a sniper for the same effect. There’s nothing like a high-powered beam of light to totally annihilate whatever stands in its destructive path, even if it’s just dirt with a vacuum cleaner.

In super terrifying news, one of these laser guns was recently tested by the US Navy. The Layered Laser Defense (LLD) weapon is designed to eliminate missile targets and was successfully tested in February.

The LLD can use its laser to dazzle, distract, disable or destroy sensors, or simply burn targets until they explode. Tests in February were conducted at the US Army’s High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, by the Office of Naval Research. During these tests, the LLD complete with AI tracking was able to shoot down quadcopters, fixed-wing vehicles, and even managed to hit high-speed drones.

It looks like a sort of Hammer of Dawn in reverse, as it comes from the ship instead of space. Still, I’m sure they’ll be putting this stuff on satellites for the real deal soon.

This is an all-electric laser that receives energy from the ship on which it is installed. So, in addition to power, it doesn’t require ammo or other propellants. This makes it one of the first laser weapons efficient enough for proper use, and a real sign that we are entering an interesting future.

“The Navy conducted similar tests during the 1980s, but with chemical-based laser technologies that presented significant logistical barriers to field in an operational environment. And ultimately, these types of lasers haven’t transitioned to fleet or any other service,” said Dr. Frank Peterkin, ONR’s Targeted Energy Portfolio Manager.

It has also been stated that while testing is going very well for the LLD, it is not yet planned for real-world use. So far, it appears to be a very viable avenue for military laser use, so we will no doubt see this implemented soon. Although we hope that only in the next call of duty unlike real life.

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