US Navy to deploy anti-drone laser in Persian Gulf
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US Navy to deploy anti-drone laser in Persian Gulf

Ship-mounted system designed to counter weapons and tactics used by the Iranian navy

The LaWS anti-drone laser weapons system mounted on the USS Dewey in 2012 (photo credit: Youtube screen capture)
The LaWS anti-drone laser weapons system mounted on the USS Dewey in 2012 (photo credit: Youtube screen capture)

The US Navy has developed a new anti-drone laser system, called the Laser Weapon System (LaWS), which is designed to counter unmanned aerial vehicles and attack methods similar to those in use by Iran’s navy, Navy officials revealed this week.

The system is to be deployed in the Persian Gulf on the USS Ponce for much of 2014 in what a Navy official called an “operational demonstration,” according to a Monday Wired article.

The LaWs was successfully tested in 2012 off the coast of California, where the laser was able to shoot down UAVs and unmanned boats with its beam, as shown in the following video, which was released by the US Navy on Monday.

Countries that operate “the kinds of threats this system is designed to deal with should pause” and “recognize” the “quick-reaction capability” of US technology, according to naval engineer Rear Admiral Thomas Eccles.

The effectiveness of LaWS in the field is still to be proven, and current laser technology is unable to stop a missile, jet fighter or manned military boat. According to Wired, the US Navy seeks to further develop laser technology as an effective way to counteract “the increasing cheapness and availability of powerful missiles and robots.”

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