WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy said on Monday it will deploy for the first time a laser weapon on one of its ships that could be capable of shooting down drones and disabling vessels.
"The future is here," said Peter Morrison at the Office of Naval Research's Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation Program.
The weapon is being billed as a step toward transforming warfare. Since it runs on electricity, it can fire as long as there is power at a cost of less than $1 dollar per shot.
"Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to fire a missile, and you can begin to see the merits of this capability," Chief of Naval Research Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, said in a statement.
The prototype, which one official said cost between $31 million and $32 million to make, will be installed aboard the USS Ponce, which is being used as a floating base in the Middle East, sometime in fiscal year 2014, which begins in October.
A Navy video showing the laser shooting down a drone can be seen at http://youtu.be/OmoldX1wKYQ
Klunder said the Navy expects that someday incoming missiles will not be able to "simply outmaneuver" a highly accurate laser beam traveling at the speed of light.
A new report from the Congressional Research Service praises the laser technology but also notes drawbacks, including the potential it could accidentally hit satellites or aircraft. Weather also affects lasers.
"Lasers might not work well, or at all, in rain or fog, preventing lasers from being an all-weather solution," it said in its report issued on March 14.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; editing by Xavier Briand)
Team Jeb Hits Back at Trump for Being 'Soft on Crime,' Cites Past Support for Legalizing Drugs | Cortney O'Brien
Sen. Chris Murphy Admits That Gun Control Legislation From Washington Probably Won’t Stop Shootings | Matt Vespa
Vox "Smart Take" Pushes Gun Confiscation. Here's What Would Happen If They Tried. - Bearing Arms - 2nd Amendment, Gun Confiscation
Doctors Will Be the Scapegoats in the Coming Obamacare Disaster | Human Events
Even newer 'poll numbers' show the terrifying 'Kanye effect' on presidential race
Katie Pavlich - Latest Clinton Email Server Dump Reveals 150 More Documents Flagged For Classified Information
Federal judge: Moral objections enough to override HHS contraception mandate - Hot Air
The Beginning of the End | RedState
Nick Adams - Not a Single Illegal Immigrant in 7 Months... In Australia