A laser mounted onto the deck of the former USS Paul Foster disabled a small target vessel off the coast of Central California, according to the office of Naval Research.
The high-energy laser (HEL) test, fired near San Nicholas Island last week, marked a milestone for the Navy.
“This is the first time a HEL, at these power levels, has been put on a Navy ship, powered from that ship and used to defeat a target at-range in a maritime environment,” said Peter Morrison, program officer for ONR’s MLD.
The weapon will one day provide more options when encountering a small-boat threat, according to the Navy.
“We are learning a ton from this program—how to integrate and work with directed energy weapons,” Morrison said. “All test results are extremely valuable regardless of the outcome.”
The technology will not replace traditional weapon systems, according to the Navy.
“This test provides an important data point as we move toward putting directed energy on warships. There is still much work to do to make sure it’s done safely and efficiently,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr.
The Navy and Northrop Grumman conducted the test.