The U.S. Navy successfully tested its new Laser Weapon System (LaWS) in the Persian Gulf.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) released video on Wednesday of the system taking out targets on the sea and in the air while aboard the USS Ponce.
“This is the first time in recorded history that a directed energy weapons system has ever deployed on anything,” Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research, told reporters at the Pentagon, Time reported Wednesday. “A lot of people talk about it — we decided to go do it.”
Navy officers told Time that the weapon’s strength can be adjusted to different settings, which range from “distract to disable to destroy,” and would be particularly useful for asymmetric threats such as small attack boats.
Office of Naval Research (ONR) spokesman Matthew Klunder said that the weapon can also be used as a surveillance tool because it can detect objects at “tactically significant ranges,” The Telegraph reported Wednesday.
The Navy has spent roughly $40 million developing LaWS over the past seven years.
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