As an aspiring diplomat, I usually try to keep weapons out of my usual discourse in favor of peace talks. However, I would like to register my extreme interest (I hesitate to say excitement) in the summer 2014 launch of the US Navy’s LaWS (Laser Weapon System).
My own experience with lasers is limited to Q-Branch’s 1995 Moonraker, and I haven’t been this excited about a laser since then.
I am the reigning champion in pressing Z to fry post-Soviet baddies.
Navy engineers at are putting finishing touches on the prototype, which will launch aboard the USS Ponce for at-sea testing in the Persian Gulf this summer. The launch was announced last year at the 2013 Sea-Air-Space Expo. The project is the fruit of the collaboration between the Office of Naval Research, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Research Lab, Naval Surface Warfare Center, and others.
Given that the US will likely increase naval capabilities in coming years, this new weapon system is the cutting edge. Such a weapon will be useful in combating asymmetrical air and sea attacks, including drones and small attack boats. Furthermore, preliminary reviews report that the laser is affordable, precise and efficient at eliminating enemy threats. The highly accurate targeting system and bottomless magazine are a plus, too.
Does China know about this?? I won’t tell them. I promise.
Interestingly, the laser will be controlled using an almost video-game-like hand-held device. Sailors will be able to adjust the laser's power from “Disable” to “Destroy”.
It’s like a stun-gun and bazooka all rolled into one.
The Navy plans to continue developing these low-cost, high energy weapons into the next decade. I will be monitoring these developments closely, waiting for the handheld model so that I can reenact my Moonraker days (though hopefully not against Russian henchmen).