The U.S. Navy has unveiled a futuristic new ship mounted infrared laser weapon that officials say could be used to shoot down drones and disable other ships, all without significant costs for ammunition.
The Navy said it intends to deploy the weapon, the Laser Weapons System (LaWS), to the Persian Gulf area in 2014 in what some are saying is a response to Iran’s ongoing development of a fleet of drones.
Navy officials will install the high-powered laser weapon on the USS Ponce, which is responsible for naval operations in the Persian Gulf area and the Horn of Africa, over the next year, according to NBC News. The laser will become fully operational by summer 2014.
Officials said LaWS may initially be used for encounters with antagonizing small boats and vessels, which Iran has been known to operate, that pose a threat to larger Navy ships. But the high-powered new technology could eventually be used to combat airborne threats, including missiles and drones.
The firepower released from LaWS, in the form of a high-powered infrared laser, can strike down drones in seconds flat.