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The future is now: Navy to deploy lasers on ships in 2014 - "Operates much like a blowtorch ... with an unlimited magazine."

By Justin Fishel | Published April 08, 2013 | FoxNews.com

The Pentagon has plans to deploy its first ever ship-mounted laser next year, a disruptive, cutting-edge weapon capable of obliterating small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles with a blast of infrared energy.

Navy officials announced Monday that in early 2014, a solid-state laser prototype will be mounted to the fantail of the USS Ponce and sent to the 5th fleet region in the Middle East for real-world experience.

'It operates much like a blowtorch ... with an unlimited magazine.'

- Navy official

Video released by the Navy shows the laser lock onto a slow-moving target, in this case an unmanned drone, which bursts aflame in mid-flight. The drone soon catches fire and crashes into the sea below.

read more http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/04/08/future-is-now-navy-to...



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Useful for some defensive purposes

I suspect it will be limited in range due to energy absorption by particulates in the air, and the article even states that it will probably not be very effective against fast moving objects. Future higher energy versions that they talked about will be better, but not useful offensively at long range because they can't follow the curve of the earth. Once they can get the energy levels up, it will most likely make projectile based close-in defense obsolete, at least until the enemy wraps their cruise missiles in highly reflective foil. (OK, the last part was facetious, probably.)

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