On Wednesday, the Navy successfully tested its new laser gun by blasting (kind of) a moving target -- a smaller boat that eventually caught fire as a result. Foxnews.com reports:
A futuristic laser mounted on a speeding cruiser successfully blasted a bobbing, weaving boat from the waters of the Pacific Ocean -- the first test at sea of such a gun and a fresh milestone in the Navy's quest to reoutfit the fleet with a host of laser weapons, the Navy announced Friday. [...]
The test occurred Wednesday near San Nicholas Island, off the coast of Central California in the Pacific Ocean test range, from a laser gun mounted onto the deck of the Navy's self-defense test ship, former USS Paul Foster.
In a video of the event, the small boat can be seen catching fire and ultimately bursting into flames, a conflagration caused by the navy's distant gun. Some details of the event were classified, including the exact range of the shot ... .
"We were able to have a destructive effect on a high-speed cruising target," chief of Naval research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr told FoxNews.com. As for the classified distance from which the "shot" took place: "We're talking miles, not yards," he said.
Fox obtained video of the test:
“This is the first time a [high-energy-laser], at these power levels, has been put on a Navy ship, powered from that ship and used to defeat a target at-range in a maritime environment,” Peter Morrison, program officer for the Office of Naval Research, explained to Foxnews.com
The new weapon, called the maritime laser demonstrator, falls under the category of "directed energy." In the future, and as the weapon develops, lasers could be used to destroy missiles in mid-air, as well as a myriad of targets. Northman Group, which is helping develop the weapons, depicts those possibilities in this picture given to Fox:
"One of the things that amazes me about this business is that the future is getting closer every day," Carr said.
Wednesday's gun is just one of the lasers the Navy is developing. Read more about some of the other futuristic weapons the Navy at Foxnews.com.