The US Navy has demonstrated a deadly 'mega laser' which can blow drones out of the sky.
And their new toy is apparently so effective it's coming to the battlefield two years ahead of schedule.
The Navy said that the first solid-state laser will be deployed aboard the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf in 2014.
The prototype Laser Weapon System (LWS) can set fire to boats and planes, or simple "dazzle" an enemy's sensors without actually destroying them.
Each machine costs $32 million to build, but less than $1 to fire - a potentially game-changing saving compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to build a missile.
Peter A. Morrision, program officer for ONR's Sold-State Laser Technology Maturation Program, compared the leap forward in technology to the jump from swords to guns.
"The solid-state laser is a big step forward to revolutionizing modern warfare with directed energy, just as gunpowder did in the era of knives and swords," he said.
It will first be deployed in the Persian Gulf, one of the busiest shiplanes in the world and a constant source of tension with Iran and other nearby nations.
The LWS is the first system in what is expected to be an extensive new line of laser-based weapons.
"Our directed energy initiatives, and specifically the solid-state laser, are among our highest priority science and technology programs. The solid-state laser program is central to our commitment to quickly deliver advanced capabilities to forward-deployed forces," Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder said.
Needless to say, if they mount one to this robot we're booking the first ticket off the planet.
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