The US Navy has confirmed that it will be deploying a prototype laser weapon in the Persian Gulf.
According to Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the weapon has already managed to successfully disable patrol boats and destroy surveillance drones during a series of extensive tests.
As the New York Times notes, the the laser will be mounted on a converted amphibious transport and docking ship in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian boats have harassed American warships – and where Tehran is stockpiling remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and perhaps even rockets.
The laser is designed for a variety of missions, from burning through a fast-attack boat or a drone to generating a nonlethal burst to disrupt hostile sensors. However, it should be noted that the above-mentioned prototype currently lacks the power to take on jet fighters or missiles.
In addition, the laser weapon faces a number of limitations, including lack of effectiveness in bad weather, as the beam can be disturbed or scattered by water vapor, as well as by smoke, sand and dust.