US Navy plans to upgrade powerful railguns, laser weapons on ships by 2020

August 4, 2015

International Business Times:

The Navy has already demonstrated the 30-kilowatt Laser Weapon System, or LaWS, carried by an old transport ship called USS Ponce in September 2014 that melted a hole in a drone and detonated explosives, according to press release by the Office of the Naval Research. The marines also developed a prototype railgun technology that can launch a projectile farther and faster than guns can fire, and could destroy cities, which the future upgrade is proposed to be used also by the Army for inland defense.

But the 30-kilowatt laser is still an underwhelming weapon as it takes time to burn through the hole of its targets, according to a report from US Naval Institute. With this in mind, the Navy plans to upgrade the current laser gun into 100 kW or more, that is able to dispatch a single incoming missile or drone more quickly and then turn to the next threat.

Besides lasers, the Navy also eyes into railguns, powerful weapons using electromagnetic forces to drag and then accelerate a projectile mounted on a sliding rail. The Navy is already developing a version that would allow 10 shots per minute, which can support troops fighting miles inland. The railguns are also proposed for the Army missile defense system that can hit incoming missiles farther out from their target, and at lower cost than missiles…

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