Images and videos provided by the Navy show the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland conducting “the first level-level system to implement a high-energy class solid-state laser” to disable an aerial drone aircraft , the statement said.
Images show the laser coming from the war deck. Short video clips show what appears to be drone burning.
The Navy has not provided a specific location for the laser weapons system (LWSD) test, saying it only happened in the Pacific on May 16.
Weapon power has not been disclosed, but a 2018 report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies has said it expects to be a 150-kilowatt laser.
“By conducting advanced sea trials against UAVs and small craft, we can gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats,”; said Capt. Karrey Sanders, Portland’s commanding officer, said in the statement.
“With this new advanced capability, we will redefine the war at sea for the Navy.”
The Navy says lasers, called direct energy weapons (DEW), can be effective against drones or small-armed boats.
“The Navy’s development of DEWs like the LWSD provides the immediate benefit of the war and provides the commander with increased decision and response space,” the statement said.
At that time, Lt. Cale Hughes, a laser weapons system official, said how they work.
“It’s throwing huge amounts of photons into an incoming object,” Hughes said. “We’re not worried about the wind, we’re not worried about the range, we’re not worried about anything. We’re able to engage with light speed targets.”
Ponce retired from service late that year.