The Navy Has Lasers

ImageHere you see the Navy’s maritime laser cannon. In 2011 it successfully burned though a boats outboard motor. It can be seen here. This is not just happening in labs or in test facilities, this is building towards the first-ever demonstration tour of a laser gun aboard a surface ship, the U.S.S. Ponce. The Ponce is a ship that is in active duty and puts a lot of pressure to prove that this technology is effective. The Ponce has recently been “retrofitted to become an ‘Afloat Forward Staging Base’ — that is, a new launchpad for attack helicopters, drones and commandos for, among other missions, counterterrorism raids.” The Navy is putting lasers on a ship that it wants to highlight. 

There has been a lot of hype around the navy bringing lasers to their ships, but there are speculations that navy will not be able to deliver on the hype. One of the biggest points of excitement on Navy’s side is how the laser will be powered. Nevin Carr, a retired two-star admiral says, “In a sense, it’s more economical — but more than just theoretically economical, it’s a way to have deeper magazines, because your fuel tanks become your mags.” Keep adding power and the gun will keep shooting, provided that the ship isn’t diverting power from its propulsion systems. (A big caveat, and one that the Navy repeatedly swears it’s got covered.)The other blaring problem is the high cost of fuel. Keep shooting, you have to keep filling up.