A Navy new laser cannon might seem to bring the real world into the field of science fiction, but this $40M cannon is very real, very functional, and capable of “changing the way we fight.” The massive project, which is expected to roll out on U.S. military ships later this 2014, is expected to revolutionize American defense systems and even — believe it or not — save the country money. The Christian Post reports this Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, that this powerful weapon might be costly, but it is in fact much less expensive than actually firing offensive missiles.
Officially called the Laser Weapons System by military authorities, the Navy new laser cannon will have the incredible ability to almost invisibly fire powerful launchers that can shoot down a number of aerial drones from the sky. It even has the power to defend U.S. ships or territory from electric guns that can fire deadly projectiles reaching hypersonic speeds. Dubbed to prepare against “asymmetrical threats,” the cannon is expected to be able to put a crushing stop to everything from aircraft to speedboats with a concentrated beam.
"It fundamentally changes the way we fight," Capt. Mike Ziv, Naval Sea Systems Command program manager for the directed energy and electric weapon systems, revealed in a statement on this device that seems to come straight out of a science fiction novel.
Although the weapons are only being rolled out this year under naval control, the Laser Weapons System was in fact first imagined over a decade ago, and initially built six years ago in 2008. The futuristic project was officially tested in spring of 2013, and proved successful in shooting down a mid-flight security drone. It is expected that the laser cannon will be used to counter a variety of potential threats, particularly the Middle Eastern technology and tactical capabilities for the USS Ponce. The Navy vessel will be preparing to enter the Persian Gulf within the coming months.
"It just so happens that the LaWS' ability to track and kill surveillance drones and swarming fast boats matches with Iran's development of surveillance drones and swarming fast-boat tactics," John F. Williams, a Navy representative told a media source.
In addition, the Navy new laser cannon is also said to only cost a single $1 per round now that the original $40M construction of the machine is complete. It requires only a single sailor to run at a given time, too, proving its cost-efficiency in the long run than other forms of military armaments.
"Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to fire a missile, and you can begin to see the merits of the Laser Weapons System," one Navy officer told The Maritime Executive.
In ultimately revolutionizing the way we fight and keeping the U.S. safe, it seems this Navy laser cannon, science fiction or not, will be used to great effect in protecting the nation and our servicemen and servicewomen.