The U.S. Navy says it has, for the first time, successfully tested an experimental laser weapon aboard a ship deployed in the Persian Gulf.
The Office of Naval Research has released a video showing the weapon in action during the tests.
The weapon, which utilizes a solid-state infrared beam of energy to cripple or destroy targets, was tested over the past few months aboard the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf. The Navy says the system performed flawlessly.
During a series of test shots, the laser hit and destroyed targets mounted atop a small boat, blasted a two-meter drone from the sky, and destroyed other moving targets.
The system is operated using a video-game-controller type device.
The U.S. Navy says laser weapons could be a pivotal tool for defending its fleets in the future from small boat, missile, and drone attacks. It hopes to deploy combat-ready laser prototypes by the early 2020s.