THE US Navy has bought two incredible laser cannons that are capable of blasting drones out of the sky.
These so-called “high-energy lasers” use huge amounts of power to destroy their targets, and will soon be loaded onto operational warships. U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Wikimedia Commons A laser cannon may be mounted onto a US warship as soon as 2020 The lasers were built by Lockheed Martin, and can be used to strike boats and small drones.
But by boosting the power from 150 kilowatts per shot to 300 kilowatts, it’s possible to destroy incoming missiles – before they hit their targets.
The pair of cannons cost the US Navy a lofty $150 million, but that’s a small fee for the added security the mega-lasers will bring.
One laser will remain on land, and will be used for military testing purposes. Alamy The set-up costs of laser cannons are high, but using energy rather than physical projectiles is cheaper in the long run The second laser cannon, however, will be loaded onto an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer ship as soon as 2020, according to Motherboard .
Unfortunately, the cost of the US Navy contract with Lockheed Martin could spiral to nearly a billion dollars.
A statement from the US Department of Defense reads: “Lockheed Martin Aculight Corp. will develop, manufacture, and deliver two test units in fiscal 2020.
“This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $942,818,114.”
It’s the USA’s latest bid to modernise its military defences to keep pace with China.
Speaking in 2016, then Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. William Moran said: “Low-cost directed energy weapons have to be part of our future.
“If we have to continue to rely on projectiles, we will run out of the ability to defend ourselves.”