US Navy set to deploy laser weapon in Gulf

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share
(Picture for illustrative purposes only)

(Picture for illustrative purposes only)

The US Navy is preparing to deploy an experimental laser weapon in the Gulf in a bid to deter Iran from using small boats to attack American warships, according to The Washington Post.

The $40m laser cannon would be deployed on the USS Ponce, an amphibious assault ship used in the Gulf for mine clearance and humanitarian operations.

The laser system is still being development but during testing it had destroyed all of its 12 drone and small boat targets, US Navy officials said.

The system uses directed energy to disable sensors or burn holes through a plane or ship. Its limited range means the weapon will not be able to target incoming missiles or jets but it could be effective in combating Iranian fast boats and any drones Iran is developing, officials said.

The Pentagon has struggled for years to develop effective laser weapons systems, including those mounted on planes intended to shoot down missiles, the newspaper reported.

The laser system is the first weapon of its kind to be deployed to the Gulf, where the US has a strong presence and is keen to ensure the waterways remain open following Iranian threats to close the channel, through which about one-fifth of the world’s oil is transported.

However, in January the Defense Department announced it was reducing the number of aircraft carriers in the Gulf from two to one due to budget cuts.

Small attack boats pose a particular threat to the US military. In 2000, a small boat filled with explosives hit the USS Cole in Yemen, killing 17 sailors.

Last year, US Navy supply ship Rappahannock opened fire on what was described as a fast-approaching boat off Jebel Ali port, killing an Indian fisherman and injuring three others.

Despite later realising it was a civilian vessel, the US Navy this week cleared the sailors of any wrongdoing.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Khawar Nehal

There should be a code for armed vessels or aircraft to warn others that they are feeling threatened. If they cannot do that, then such vessels should not be allowed in areas where civilians are allowed to roam. Use autonomous robotic small boats to patrol and then bring in the big artillery when the small monitoring boats detect something clearly. With clear evidence. Use more drones. If the potential threat shoots the drone then shoot the threat.

let the drones get within a few meters to open clear communications.

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Crude control

Crude control

The startling fall in the oil price has renewed questions about...

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait shared zone tensions underlie oilfield closure

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait shared zone tensions underlie oilfield closure

Crude output from jointly-run offshore Khafji oilfield has been...

The billion dollar war

The billion dollar war

As US president Barack Obama seeks to slash the Pentagon’s budget...

Most Discussed
  • 16
    ‘How my Dubai mortgage landed me in a police cell’

    loans in any form need to filtered with the terms and condition, assuming thing will be in order is not excuse, one need to check with banks when property... more

    Friday, 31 October 2014 5:49 PM - Jacob
  • 10
    Do you actually own your house?

    This is unbelievable from Nakheel. In a case where we want landscape our garden with some tiles and grass costing around 12500, Nakheel is demanding a... more

    Thursday, 30 October 2014 9:06 PM - skp
  • 1
    Men arrested for working in women's shops in Saudi

    “We won’t spare any mall or shop employing expatriate men to sell women’s accessories,” the ministry’s director general in Makkah, Abdul Monem Al Shahri... more

    Friday, 31 October 2014 12:22 PM - cba