Hopes for a new U.S. defense against cheap anti-ship arms were once again lifted by the chief of Navy research as he made a statement regarding the performance of the new laser weapon that was deployed aboard the USS Ponce in the Gulf. According to him, it has passed all necessary tests and is performing beyond expectations.
Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, who is in charge of the Office of Naval Research, was quoted as saying that the laser weapon, that cost roughly $40 million was fully integrated on the USS Ponce at the end of the summer, for a time period of one year in order to perform all the necessary tests.
“This is the first time that a directed energy weapons system has ever been deployed on anything” said Admiral Klunder.
A newly emerged video of the laser weapon shows it hitting a small aerial drone in just two seconds, frying all of its electrical components and sending it straight into sea before it even had time to react.
Another video circulating around various media outlets shows it targeting a hard-to-see rocket-propelled grenade aboard a small distant attack boat and thus causing the device to go off and send a spray of shrapnel all across the water around it.
According to Klunder no more tests are to be made and the laser weapon is fully operational. The deployment of the weapon is a direct result of the Pentagon’s concerns about losing that technological edge that has managed to propel it to victory over its rivals for decades.
A vast number of countries are also emphasizing on the development of precision munitions, long-range missiles and other various weapon systems in order to rival the U.S.’ superiority in the field. China and Iran for example have developed accurate anti-ship missiles so that they could force the U.S. navy further away from their respective coastlines.
This project raises high hopes for the U.S. to be able to develop a far more powerful 100-150 kw system (the one in question is a “mere” 30 kw) that would be able to deliver a jolt of energy capable of destroying a multimillion-dollar missile for about a dollar’s worth and thus give the U.S. an enormous advantage in the countering of anti-ship threats.
The greatly superior laser system is now being developed and is expected to be completed and put to use in 2017, according to Klunder. If all goes well it will go into production and be deployed on a large number of ships.
Despite the fact that the current weapons system aboard the Ponce has not been really used against actual threats, it has been thoroughly tested against any kind of targets the vessel could eventually face.
“It’s worth pointing out that we’ve in all seriousness have never missed. If we are tasked to protect that ship we’ll destroy any target that comes in our way” Klunder said.