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The laser was sacked from the USS Portland and hit an unmanned aerial vehicle, which can be seen lighting up in footage taken by the Navy.
Developed by the Office of Naval Research and Northrop Grumman as a successor to the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) - the military's first fully approved laser platform - the LWSD was deployed to the Portland in 2019 soon after the ship was commissioned, where it's undergone a series of tests. The laser system was developed by Northrup Grumman, with full System and Ship Integration and Testing led by NSWC Dahlgren and Port Hueneme.
In addition to disabling drones and small boats, the LWSD can function as a "dazzler", meaning it can blind enemy sensors, while integrated video cameras used for targeting can also act as a surveillance system, according to the Drive.
While the exact capabilities of the laser weapon system remain unknown, some reports indicate that this could be a 150-kilowatt system.
Navy ships face an increasing number of threats in conducting their missions, including UAVs, armed small boats, and adversary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.
China's land-based missiles could outrange a United States carrier strike group's jets and missiles and overwhelm a carrier group's ability to intercept with a finite supply of missiles.
A US Navy warship has successfully tested a new high-energy laser weapon that can destroy aircraft mid-flight.
The test launch of the weapon took place while operating off Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on May 16.
"The Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy, while paving the way for future weapons systems, " said Sanders.
Lieutenant Cale Hughes, a laser weapons system officer, told CNN in 2017 that the 30-kilowatt laser weapon on board the Ponce, which has since been retired from service, was like "throwing massive amounts of photons at an incoming object", allowing the Navy to "engage the targets at the speed of light".
"For about the price of a gallon of diesel fuel per shot, we're offering the Navy a high-precision defensive approach that will protect not only its sailors, but also its wallet", director and program manager Guy Renard, said at the time.