Gunning for laser weapons
We're especially keen on seeing what the Defense Department can deliver in the category of directed-energy weapons -- a rather bland and bureaucratic term for that staple of sci-fi cinema, ray guns. For all the money that the military-industrial complex has thrown at the problem, we're still a long way off from phasers and photon torpedoes, but ever so slowly, we do see small gains -- or at least flashy demonstrations. One such moment in the coming year should materialize from the US Navy's Laser Weapon System, or LAWS, a solid-state system that will be installed on the USS Ponce, a former amphibious transport ship that the Navy has reclassified as its first Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim), for deployment to the Persian Gulf "in fiscal year 2014" -- that is, by October 1.
The Laser Weapon System (LaWS), a technology demonstrator, in a temporary installation aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105), from July 2012.
December 27, 2013 3:59 AM PST
Photo by: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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