Amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has taken the world hostage, the United States has been amping up its military power to secure its territorial integrity. US Pacific Fleet on Friday (local time) announced that Amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) 'successfully' disabled an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a solid-state laser last week.
"Amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) successfully disabled an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a Solid State Laser - Technology Maturation Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) MK 2 MOD 0 on May 16," the Pacific Fleet said in a release.
The Laser Weapon System Demonstrator is a high-energy laser weapon system developed by the Office of Naval Research and installed in Portland for an at-sea demonstration. LWSD's operational employment on a Pacific Fleet ship is the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser. The laser system was developed by Northrup Grumman, with full System and Ship Integration and Testing led by NSWC Dahlgren and Port Hueneme.
"The Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator is a unique capability the Portland gets to test and operate for the Navy, while paving the way for future weapons systems," said Capt. Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of Portland. "With this new advanced capability, we are redefining war at sea for the Navy," he added.
The world's largest fleet command, the US Pacific Fleet encompasses 100 million square miles, nearly half the Earth's surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic circle and from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean. The US Pacific Fleet consists of approximately 200 ships/submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft, and more than 130,000 Sailors and civilians.
China, the second-largest military spender after the US, as per reports has hiked its defence budget from last year's $177.6 billion to $179 billion. World's two of the most powerful economies are ramping up the defence infrastructure even as most countries struggle against the pandemic.