Anti-UAV laser system
Anti-UAV laser systemiStock

A US Navy ship tested a high-energy laser weapon in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday, successfully hitting its target.

The USS Portland used the weapon to destroy a non-moving practice target during a demonstration of the new weapon’s potential, according to a statement by the Navy.

The system, which has been installed on the San Antonio-class amphibious ship since 2018, had been previously tested in May 2020, when it successfully destroyed a drone in the Pacific Ocean.

The Solid State Laser-Technology Maturation Laser Weapons System Demonstrator (LWSD) is a “next-generation” follow up to the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) aboard the USS Ponce that was tested for three years while the floating staging base operated in the Middle East, the Navy said.

“The region's geography, climate, and strategic importance offer a unique environment for technology innovation,” the Navy explained.

The LWSD is the Navy’s most powerful laser weapon to date. It is five times more powerful than the LaWS, UPI reported. The new weapon is able to shoot down small airplanes.

The Portland, which is part of the US 5th Fleet, began operating in the region in August.