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Navy's Anti-Missile Laser Cannon Successfully Tested at Sea

Navy's Laser Weapon System, LaWS
The Navy has successfully tested an automated laser cannon that could one day zap anti-ship missiles out of the air. The Laser Weapon System, or LaWS, is being proposed as a replacement for the Close In Weapon System (CIWS), or Phalanx gun, which currently serves as the last line of defense against anti-ship weapons. The Phalanx gun consists of a radar tracking system and a Gatling gun, which has a limited range and has seen only minimal upgrades since being deployed in 1980.

The primary advancement of the LaWS is that it has overcome an issue that has plagued other ship-based laser weapons: the light beams' tendency to lose power as the result of breaking up more quickly in the damp ocean air. The LaWS would greatly extend the range of the Phalanx gun by using a beam director, and thus improve the defenses of American war ships.

The LaWS has successfully shot a drone out of the air over open water, making it the most realistic test of laser weapon yet. It can't be much longer till battlefields the world over are filled with "pews" instead of "bangs." [From: Wired/CNN, via: BoingBoing]

Tags: Anti-shipWeaponDefense, CIWS, CloseInWeaponSystem, laser, LaserWeaponSystem, LaWS, military, Navy, top, weapons