Of course, what works on a moving naval platform also works from stationary, land-based positions, and Raytheon is also looking to mount the system on trailers much as Boeing has done with its Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated experiments (MATRIX).
The weapon uses directed laser energy to burn targets, which could be used to expose fuel lines in an enemy plane or ship, damaging it critically or even destroying it.
Raytheon revealed its next-gen directed energy weapon at the Farnborough Air Show, releasing video showing its Laser Weapons System (LaWS) — a six-laser weapon that focuses on a single target — engaging and then destroying an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) from the deck of a Navy vessel at sea.
The tests conducted show the LaWS illuminating and then heating the underside of a drone aircraft shortly before it goes up in flames and loses trajectory, plummeting into the ocean below. Guided by Raytheon’s Laser Close-in Weapon System (CIWS), a sensor suite that locks onto and guides the energy weapon, LaWS shot down three similar drones during the tests, which marked the first time a solid-state laser has shot down an aircraft on the wing over open seas.
There are three significant parts to this story. First, it’s important to note that LaWS is a solid-state laser rather than…
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