American laser to destroy drones

In sometimes hostile waters of the Persian Gulf were the first in the U.S. Navy — and in fact the world’s first — active laser weapons.

Military laser system (Laser Weapons System) — this is not science fiction. And not experimental. It is installed aboard amphibious transport ship “Pons”, the crew commander who was the captain of the first rank wells Christopher (Christopher Wells) ready to hit her goal every day.

CNN got an exclusive opportunity to see a laser weapon in action during the firing.

“It is more accurate bullets, told CNN the captain of the first rank walls. — It’s not like it’s weapons systems are of limited use, which we have plenty in the armed forces, and who are good at fighting or only air targets or surface ships or ground targets. In this case, we have a universal weapon that can be used for a variety of purposes”.

Combat laser system has such advantages, which is not even close none of the weapons from among the invented by mankind. It is by definition the speed of light. For comparison, this is 50 thousand times faster than the approaching Intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“It shoots a large number of protons on the approaching object, — says the commander of the calculation of combat laser systems Lieutenant Gail Hughes. We don’t need to worry about adjusting for wind, distance, anything. We can hit targets at the speed of light”.

The CNN correspondent was convinced of it personally.

For test firing the crew “Ponsa” launched target, which was the unmanned aerial vehicle, are increasingly used by Iran, North Korea, China, Russia and other opponents.

The calculation of the laser system immediately made aiming. “We do not need to aim, explained Hughes. We intercepted her at the speed of light, so we will just have to aim and shoot. We see the goal, drags a gun on her and shoot to kill.”

In a moment the wings of the UAV caught fire from a temperature of several thousand degrees, and the car fell into the sea.

Strike silently and invisibly. “The laser operates in the invisible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, so we can’t see the beam, it produces no noise, it’s completely silent, and it is incredibly effective at hitting the target,” said Hughes.

It’s a surprisingly accurate weapon, and according to representatives of the Navy, in time of war it can to minimize collateral damage.

“I can aim at a certain point on the target, and the need to bring it down and destroy it, — said walls. Collateral damage is minimized. I don’t have to worry about ammunition, which will fly past the target and can hit what I would not want to strike.”

The system costs $ 40 million, and for its operation requires electricity, which it receives from the small regular generator. The calculation of combat laser system three. No missiles worth millions of dollars, no shells.

How much is one shot? “About a dollar,” explains Hughes.

Today, the laser is mainly for decommissioning or destruction of aircraft and small boats. “This weapon is designed to counter air and surface threats,’ said Hughes. Over the last three years, laser weapons have proven its incredible efficiency in this case.”

But in the Navy and develop the second generation systems, which are much more powerful and will be able to take in the crosshairs of his sight more significant goal: the missiles.

This work is classified. But the captain and his crew are well aware of its potential opportunities. When we asked Wallsa, whether located on Board laser system to shoot down the rocket, he said “maybe” and smiled.

Jim Salatto — the chief correspondent of the CNN, prepares correspondence, and analytical materials on all aspects of U.S. national security, including foreign policy, military, terrorism, intelligence.