Navy shows off sci-fi weapon as ship destroys ‘floating target’ with laser beam

The US navy unveiled a weapon straight out of science fiction this week when they performed a jaw-dropping laser weapon test.

Amphibious ship the USS Portland conducted the high-energy laser weapon system demonstration while sailing through the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday (14 December).

New photos shared on the Navy's Twitter account show a laser beam being fired from the bow of the ship while aimed at a static target.

During the demonstration, the Solid State Laser – Technology Maturation Laser Weapons System Demonstrator (LWSD) weapon aboard the Portland successfully "engaged" the target.

Portland previously tested the LWSD in May 2020, when it successfully disabled a small unmanned aerial system, while operating in the Pacific Ocean.

The LWSD is considered a next-generation follow-on to the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) that afloat forward staging base USS Ponce tested for three years while operating in the Middle East.

Portland is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group that includes amphibious assault ship USS Essex, dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor and embarked Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Units departed San Diego in August and began operating in the US 5th Fleet region in September.

The region's geography, climate, and strategic importance offer a unique environment for technology innovation. US 5th Fleet's area of operations includes the world's largest standing maritime partnership, Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.

In November it was revealed that the US is developing the most powerful laser weapon ever seen that is capable of zapping missiles out of the sky.

The move came only days after China conducted a nuclear missile test.

US military officials have commissioned Boeing and General Atomics Electromagnetics Systems (GA-EMS) to build the 300-kilowatt superweapon.

The proposed Distributed Gain High Energy Laser Weapon System (DGHELWS) will draw on Boeing's target tracking technology and GA-EMS' laser weaponry to create a machine capable of picking drones and missiles out of the sky.

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