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US Navy ready to deploy laser for 1st time

February 17, 2014 • Business


In this Feb. 24, 2012 photo provided by the U.S. Navy, a high-speed camera captures the first full-energy shots from an electromagnetic launcher at a test facility in Dahlgren, Va. The Navy plans to deploy its first laser on a ship in 2014, and intends to test an electromagnetic rail gun prototype aboard a vessel within the following two years. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, John F. Williams)

BATH, Maine (AP) — Some of the Navy’s futuristic weapons sound like something out of “Star Wars,” with lasers designed to shoot down aerial drones and electric guns that fire projectiles at hypersonic speeds.

That future is now.

The Navy plans to deploy its first laser on a ship later this year, and it intends to test an electromagnetic rail gun prototype aboard a vessel within two years.

For the Navy, it’s not so much about the whiz-bang technology as it is about the economics of such armaments. Both costs pennies on the dollar compared with missiles and smart bombs, and the weapons can be fired continuously, unlike missiles and bombs, which eventually run out.

“It fundamentally changes the way we fight,” said Capt. Mike Ziv, program Login to read more

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