Technology

US Navy uses laser weapon to destroy floating target

The USS Portland successfully test-fired its laser weapon demonstrator at a floating target in the Gulf of Aden, the US Navy said.

The US Navy has used a laser weapon to destroy a floating target in the Middle East.

The demonstration on Tuesday saw the USS Portland test-fire its Laser Weapon System Demonstrator at the target in the Gulf of Aden.

In a statement, the Middle East-based 5th Fleet described the laser as having "successfully engaged" the "static surface" target.

Images released by the navy show the test-fire as a beam of light being fired from the ship, with sailors on board wearing special glasses.

USS Portland test-fires Laser Weapon System Demonstrator at floating target in Gulf of Aden 141221 CREDIT US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
USS Portland fires the weapon (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Previously, the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland used the laser to bring down a flying drone in May 2020.

It comes as laser and radiofrequency weapons demonstrators are set to be developed for the British military.

It was announced in September that contracts worth about £72.5m were awarded to UK industry to develop such technology.

Known as Directed Energy Weapons (DEW), it is thought they could revolutionise the battlefield by using 'cutting-edge' laser and radiofrequency weapons technology, leading to a reduced risk of collateral damage.

Watch: The USS Portland fires the laser weapon in May last year.