The laser can reach a terawatt in 200 femtoseconds, while the maximum of current systems reaches 150 kilowatts.
The United States entered the race for a laser spraying objects, much more powerful than the current ones. It is, in the words of the Daily Mail, « A million times more powerful than other systems. »
It is called Tactical Ultra Short Pulsed Laser (UPSL) and it is special for destroying drones and missiles.
The US Army defends its use, denying that it is for human purposes. However, it can cause a person anything from burns to the skin to permanent blindness.
This is how the most powerful system would work
This type of system makes a target « burn and melt », according to the portal of Small Business Innovation Research. « Current high-energy laser weapons systems consist primarily of continuous wave laser sources with output power in kilowatts, » the page defines.
« Its purpose is to develop a system with sufficient size, weight, power and robustness for use on relevant platforms, » he adds.
How would a drone look? It would not melt, but rather its outer shell would vaporize.
A prototype of this laser is expected to be ready for a demonstration in August 2022.
The latest test with a Navy laser
Already in may the United States Navy used such a weapon system to shoot down a drone. The proof was released in a video last year.
#USSPortland (LPD 27) conducts Laser Weapon System Demonstrator Test in Pacific: https://t.co/zZJglgDIcf @USNavy @USNavyResearch #NavyLethality pic.twitter.com/K8xtcEWiRz
– U.S. Pacific Fleet (@USPacificFleet) May 22, 2020
The laser was sent from atop the USS Portland, an amphibious transport ship. The drone caught fire and fell into the sea.
The difference with the UPSL weapon is the power: it can reach a terawatt in 200 femtoseconds. The maximum of current systems reaches 150 kilowatts.