(UPI) — A U.S. Navy ship successfully fired a new, high-energy laser weapon on Tuesday, destroying a training target.
The USS Portland destroyed the static target in the Gulf of Aden as part of a demonstration.
The gulf separates East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
The system was initially installed on the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship in 2018, successfully destroyed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in 2020.
The Laser Weapons System Demonstrator (LWSD) is a “follow-on to the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) that afloat forward staging base USS Ponce tested for three years while operating in the Middle East,” according to a Navy release.
Amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) conducted a high-energy laser weapon system demonstration, Dec. 14, while sailing in the Gulf of Aden. Read more ⬇️https://t.co/nYWqgtbLdQ pic.twitter.com/L0xfysIG1q
— U.S. 5th Fleet (@US5thFleet) December 15, 2021
The LWSD is the Navy’s strongest laser weapon, five times more powerful than the 30-kilowatt LaWS, which is capable of downing small aircraft. Tuesday’s test-firing was not its first trial run.
The five-year-old ship is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group. The group departed Naval Base San Diego in August and began operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet region in September.
The Navy says the “region’s geography, climate, and strategic importance offer a unique environment for technology innovation.”