While lasers have found a lot of use in non-combat settings, it felt for a long time that being able to fire a laser from a gun is the stuff of science fiction and can only be achieved in the movies or video games. Well it looks like the future is finally here. You might recall that last month the US Navy deployed a laser gun on one of their ships.
Well for those who are curious as to how it works, the Navy has recently released a video in which the laser gun is demonstrated on one of its warships set in the Persian Gulf. The video basically shows the laser gun firing off a series of test shots where it hit and destroyed targets mounted on top of a small boat, as well as blasting a drone from the sky.
However unlike the movies, there is no red/green light being emitted from the gun, nor are there “pew pew” noises that one might have expected to see in movies like Star Wars, but it’s still pretty awesome nonetheless. According to Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research, “This is the first time in recorded history that a directed energy weapons system has ever deployed on anything. A lot of people talk about it—we decided to go do it.”
The Navy has reportedly spent $40 million developing this weapon which is essentially a combination of six commercial welding lasers throw together. The laser has an effective range of up to a mile and can output as much as 30 kilowatts of destructive power, although Navy officers have stated that the power is adjustable. In any case if you’re curious and want to see the laser in action, check it out in the video above.