The U.S. Navy tested the MK 2 MOD 0 laser from the Maturation Laser Weapon System (LWSD) demonstrator, with which a drone was successfully destroyed on May 16, they claimed (although there are no drone images).
The carrier of the weapon was the landing ship of the USS Portland (LPD 27).The United States becomes, together with Russia, Israel and China, the only countries that have designed and “successfully” tested such a weapon, something that is somewhat expensive to develop.
The U.S. Navy has been developing directed-energy weapons (DEWs), to include lasers, since the 1960s. DEWs are defined as electromagnetic systems capable of converting chemical or electrical energy to radiated energy and focusing it on a target, resulting in physical damage that degrades, neutralizes, defeats, or destroys an adversarial capability.
Navy ships face an increasing number of threats in conducting their missions, including UAVs, armed small boats, and adversary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. The Navy’s development of DEWs like the LWSD, provide immediate warfighter benefits and provide the commander increased decision space and response options.
“The Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy, while paving the way for future weapons systems, “ said Sanders. “With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy.”
Portland is the 11th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. While it is the third ship to bear the name ‘USS Portland,’ it is the first ship to be named solely after the largest city in Oregon.