Raytheon has finally developed the sci-fi weapon of all of our childhoods’. It’s a real laser that really works to blow aircraft and missiles right out of the skies. It’s like Star Wars without the three terrible prequels and incest.
They unveiled this death ray (ironically) at a British airshow. It’s called the Laser Close-In Weapon System, and it fires a 50 kilowatt beam that can disable “aircraft, mortars, rockets, and small surface ships, and has already been tested against unmanned aerial vehicles.” Also, it is effective against supervillains.
The unit is appropriately (and disturbingly casually) nicknamed R2-D2 for its dome-shaped unit, and is part of the U.S. Navy’s Phalanx – the unit designed for anti-missile defense. The laser’s one downfall is that, in inclement conditions, the laser’s power is absorbed by fog and clouds rendering it less effective and with a shorter range. To aid in these conditions, though, the Phalanx has a radar-linked Gatling gun as a last line of defense. Check out the laser in action below. It’s not exactly like the opening scene of Star Wars, but it’s not far off.