A U.S. Navy warship has successfully tested a new high-energy laser weapon that can destroy aircraft in flight, the Navy said in a statement on Friday.
Images and videos provided by the Navy show the amphibious vessel USS Portland executing "the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser" to disable an aerial aircraft, the statement said.
The images show the laser emanating from the deck of the warship. Short video clips show what appears to be the burning drone.
The Navy did not provide a specific location for the laser weapon system demonstrator (LWSD) test, saying only that it occurred in the Pacific on May 16.
The weapon's power was not disclosed, but a 2018 report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies said a 150-kilowatt laser was expected.
"When conducting advanced tests at sea against UAVs and small vessels, we will gain valuable information about the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapon System Demonstrator against potential threats," Capt. Portland Commander Karrey Sanders said in a statement.
"With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy."
The Navy says lasers, called targeted energy weapons (DEW), can be effective defenses against drones or small armed boats.
"The development of Navy DEWs, such as the LWSD, offers immediate benefits to combatants and offers the commander greater decision-making and response options," the statement said.
In 2017, CNN witnessed a live exercise of a 30 kilowatt laser gun aboard the amphibious vessel USS Ponce, in the Persian Gulf.
At the time, Lieutenant Cale Hughes, an officer in the laser weapons system, described how they work.
"He's throwing large amounts of photons at an incoming object," said Hughes. "We don't care about the wind, we don't care about the range, we don't care about anything else. We are able to hit targets at the speed of light."
Ponce was taken out of service later that year.