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Navy conducts historic test of new laser weapon system

SpaceWar.com reports: “The ground-based laser system homed in on the red drone flying by, shooting a high-energy beam invisible to the naked eye. Suddenly, a fiery orange glow flared on the drone, smoke poured from its engine and a parachute opened as the craft tumbled downward, disabled by the laser beam.

The February demonstration marked the first time the U.S. Navy used an all-electric, high-energy laser weapon to defeat a target representing a subsonic cruise missile in flight.

Known as the Layered Laser Defense (LLD), the weapon was designed and built by Lockheed Martin to serve as a multi-domain, multi-platform demonstration system. It can counter unmanned aerial systems and fast-attack boats with a high-power laser-and also use its high-resolution telescope to track in-bound air threats, support combat identification and conduct battle damage assessment of engaged targets.

The drone shoot-down by the LLD was part of a recent test sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) at the U.S. Army’s High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The demonstration was a partnership between ONR, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering) and Lockheed Martin…”

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