By now, the world thought we would have countless technological advancements. However, flying cars, hoverboards, and robotic personal assistants are still out of reach. However, the US Navy recently confirmed that we are, in fact, living in the future. Yesterday, they released photos from a laser weapon demonstration. That’s right. The Navy has laser weapons now. Not only that, they’re so effective that they shared the test with the world on their Twitter account.
The Navy tweet states that USS Portland “conducted a high-energy laser weapon system demonstration on a static surface training target,” on Tuesday. The test took place in the Gulf of Aden which lies between Yemen and Somalia in the Indian Ocean.
In the Navy photos, you’ll notice that all of the photos of the weapon in action are infrared. That’s because, much like the laser pointer you use to play with your cat, the beams from the Navy’s latest weapon are invisible to the naked eye. You can only see where the beam impacts an object or surface.
Vance Brahosky, deputy technical director of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division spoke to the Times of San Diego about the Navy’s laser weapon development. “The speed of warfare has increased so dramatically and exponentially over the last several years that one of the best ways that our fleet is going to be able to fight and win is with speed-of-light laser technology types of weapons.”
US Navy Enters New Age of Laser Weapon Testing
According to the publication, the US Navy has opened a $23 million laboratory to test new laser weapon technology. The Direct Energy Systems Integration Laboratory (DESIL) is located at Point Mugu in Ventura County, California. There, they will test and develop new laser weapon technology for the naval fleet.
DESIL is a massive 18,500 square-foot facility. Sitting on the Point Mugu Sea Range, the three-story lab has 36,000 square miles of controlled sea and air space in which to test new laser weapon technology for the Navy. They designed the building so that weapons can be mounted to the roof for test firing. Additionally, DESIL allows for indoor testing and evaluation of the new weapons.
About the facility, Brahosky said, “The directed energy and high-power microwave technology testing that can now be done in this facility will allow us to evaluate and field warfighting capabilities so that the sailors and Marines on our ships can fight and win.”
Currently, the US Navy is fitting several Arleigh Burke-class destroyers with laser weapon systems. In their current stage of development, the lasers can take small drones out of the sky and disable small boats. This is only the beginning. These weapons will only get more powerful from here.