For decades, movies like Star Wars have given us a glimpse into what modern warfare could be. A-Wing Fighters and turbolasers were a few of the weapons and vehicles of choice that the future had in store. Now, in 2014 we might not have any A-wing fighters yet, but we are closer than ever to the turbolaser weaponry we have come to know and dare I say, enjoy watching on the big screen.
In 2010, the U.S. government awarded Kratos Defense & Security Solutions an $11 million, 5 year contract to create a Navy Directed Energy and Electric Weapon Systems. Four years and $40 million in research later, the 30 LaWS U.S. navy laser system was created. The LaWS was placed on the USS Ponce and tested in the Persian Gulf over the Fall and it is now believed to be working flawlessly. A real life laser shooter in 2014.
The LaWS laser has taken it a step further and is controlled with a video game like controller that offers Call of Duty: Modern Warfare precision, making quick strike contact. This not only provides a more accurate strike but a cleaner and more affordable alternative to traditional shells and missiles. Each laser shot costs roughly 59 cents opposed to traditional ammo that can range in the millions per shot. “Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operation,” said chief of naval research Rear Admiral L. Klunder. “We ran this particular weapon prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”
The laser has been approved by the US Central Command to be used on defense vessels, and will likely see many more LaWS lasers on Navy vessels by the year 2020.