US Navy testing new drone killing laser weapon in Gulf

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US Navy testing new drone killing laser weapon in Gulf
America is testing a new laser weapon in the Gulf which could be used against drones and small attack boats

USS Ponce AFSB(I)-15 transits in the Arabian Gulf with the newly installed Laser Weapon System (LaWS) Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel M. Young
The United States’ navy has begun testing a new laser weapon in the Gulf, to shoot down drones or burn up small attacking speed boats.

The high-energy weapon has been fitted to a US navy vessel based in the strategically important waterway for its first ever operational trials.

US naval commanders believe the prototype weapon will be ideal for shooting down remotely-controlled drones, or repelling small attack craft that could be used by terrorists, pirates or Iran.

Early tests have seen the £25 million ($40 million) weapon ignite remote-controlled drone targets in mid air and send them crashing to the ground in flames.

A spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet said the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) had been tested several times since it was fitted to USS Ponce in late August and “those tests have gone fairly well”.

Cdr Kevin Stephens said: “This is the first operational testing in an operational environment. It’s performed as expected generally speaking.”

Six lasers converge in the LaWS to create a destructive beam with a range of 10 miles. The weapon is likely to be tested for around 12 months on the USS Ponce, which is based in Bahrain.

Cdr Stephens said the LaWS was “ideal for small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles”.

America has increased its naval presence in the Gulf in recent years because of threats to shipping and oil supplies. The Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf carries nearly a third of all waterborne oil shipments, amounting to between 15 and 17 million barrels daily and is a vulnerable choke point for the world’s supplies.

Iran has occasionally threatened to close the Strait and has practised sending swarms of fast attack craft against larger warships. Speedboats laden with explosives such as the craft that struck USS Cole in Aden in 2000 are also a potent terrorist threat against shipping in the region.

Iran also has an extensive domestic drone programme, but Cdr Stephens said the laser was being tested in the region not because of Iran, but because the Gulf was one of the busiest and toughest areas where the US Navy operated.

US Navy testing new drone killing laser weapon in Gulf - Telegraph
 
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I noticed when there is a new weapon they always use the term, it could be used for terrorist. Sounds like a marketing tool to me. I'm not saying that's it's not true but it can be used for other reasons as well.
 
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Drones are the future of wars, now that I think of it, they are the present and recent past as well. Sure, every new weapon can be used by terrorists as well, today's allies are tomorrows enemies how history has taught us, so we never know what can happen.
 
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I noticed when there is a new weapon they always use the term, it could be used for terrorist. Sounds like a marketing tool to me. I'm not saying that's it's not true but it can be used for other reasons as well.
You're not alone on this. It gets me thinking as well. But I won't be surprised in the end if eventually it turns out that it's all business.
 

ally79

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Well, it is very easy to sell the idea of warfare to a group of people based on the act of terrorism and drones are certainly the present and future of warfare across the globe. It makes sense that they would design weapons specifically for their destruction.
 
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So far, the US is the only country that has been actively using drones in war. So whose drones are they planning to shoot down with this new laser weapon? Their own drones?
 
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As more countries start to develop or procure their own drones, it is only natural that defence systems such as this will be designed. Still, a 10km laser capable of tracking and incinerating a drone is reminiscent of science fiction.
 
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Still, a 10km laser capable of tracking and incinerating a drone is reminiscent of science fiction.
You are right. The idea that a drone which is 10 km away is a threat is more than bordering on the preposterous. Unless, of course, the drone is carrying a nuclear warhead. But I think we already have a name for such drones. They are called nuclear missiles and we already have a counter-missile system in place.
 
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I wish they were testing this in the south china sea HAHA. with all the heated territory disputes china has against 14 other countries, maybe a little testing to show them what we can do would help to calm the stress a little bit. The tensions get more intense everyday as china feels japan and USA will not retaliate or step over boundaries China has illegally set. I fear that one day china will push to far and make the wrong mistake and it will cost them a lot more than a plane or 2.
 
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I believe the US has already made a decision to pay more attention to the region currently being contested by China and it's neighbours. The way I see it, just showing off some new hardware is not going to be much of a deterrent. What the US needs to do is teach other countries how to defend themselves better, not send in the troops to do their fighting for them.
 
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Wow what an equipment to behold. The US are certainly battle ready if you ask me. However i wonder why the choose that area for the testing.
 

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Lasers travel at the speed of light and I believe they are the future of war. There is no time to think when something that fast is coming at your boat. It will also make us an intimidating force to other countries once we show them what we can do.
 
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What the US needs to do is teach other countries how to defend themselves better, not send in the troops to do their fighting for them.

It would be nice to bring the boys and girls home from all over the world. The key world you said is TEACH - how do we show our new "Allies" how to take care of themselves once we have provided assistance? That's the key - Woodrow Wilson preached the idea of Self-Determination after World War I - meaning - we helped you achieve independence/freedom - but it's YOUR responsibility to make something of it and take care of yourself. Many of his successors didn't interpret it that way.
 
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how do we show our new "Allies" how to take care of themselves once we have provided assistance
The answer, as I have mentioned before, lies in education. Take, for example, the situation in Afghanistan. We have troops there training the Afghan military forces. However, that doesn't stop the Taliban. If the Taliban can be stopped with guns and bombs, the job would have be completed long ago. The Taliban thrives on ignorance. Their supporters know nothing more than what they are told.

So, the key to changing this mindset is to start with the children. Teach the children. Yes, teach the soldiers, but teach the children, too. No, don't teach the children how to shoot. Teach the children how to read and write. In English. When they can read and write in English, the world is much, much broader for them. They can access a lot more information. They can learn a lot more things. The English language will be the bridge to bring them into the world.