PORTLAND, Ore. — Star Wars-era battlefield lasers successfully shot down unmanned areal vehicles (UAVs) during a simulated attack using the U.S. Navy's Laser Weapon System (LaWS) guided by Raytheon's Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (CIWS) sensor suite.
LaWS combines six solid-state lasers that simultaneously focused on the moving targets in the test to destroy them in seconds, outperforming previous tests that focused on stationary targets, according to Raytheon.
The UAVs were tracked with electro-optical sensors, which fused their data stream with a radio-frequency (RF) sensor that provided the targets' range. Once the fused data stream had acquired a lock on the targets, the laser destroyed all four attacking UAVs in-flight during an over-the-water engagement.
A Raytheon-U.S. Navy team is working to add a solid-state laser to the Phalanx Close-in Weapon System
Raytheon said it would still be several years before the system could be deployed on ships. The weapon is also being adapted for deployment on land in trailers that could be pulled to the battlefield, according to the company.