In a collaborative effort with the U.S. Navy, defense contractor Raytheon Missile Systems has unveiled a high-power, solid-state laser weapon with the ability to shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from a range of about three kilometers.
Unveiled at England's Farnborough International Airshow on Tuesday, the Laser Close-In Weapon System shot down four drones in secret tests off the California coast in May.
The electrically-powered system offers the military a cost-efficient way to shoot down threatening UAVs or even, perhaps, other aircraft. "Once development is completed," Raytheon said in a press release, "the Laser Area Weapon System will give the warfighter a speed-of-light solution for defeating rockets, mortars, UAVs and other targets."
"We are now on the path to delivering the first battlefield lasers integrated into real weapons systems," Mike Booen, the vice-president of directed energy weapons at Raytheon, said Tuesday. "This is more real than 'Star Wars.'"
See video of the new laser weapon system here: