Set Phasers To Stun: Laser Weaponry

From Alec:

Throughout the Star Trek saga, laser weapons have been the weapon of choice for neutralizing threats. Laser weaponry can be found in everything from the smallest handheld weapons to the primary defense systems of some of the largest ships in the series. But are laser weapons feasible (or even possible) in real life?

As it turns out, yes.

In recent years, Israel has put forth considerable effort in developing laser weapons. In 2015, a weapon known as the “Iron Beam” is planned to be implemented alongside the country’s existing Iron Dome defense system. The Iron beam will allow smaller weapons that are too small to be effectively taken down by the Iron Dome such as mortars and short range rockets, to be destroyed cheaply and efficiently [1].

The U.S. Navy is also working on developing its own laser weaponry. The weapon, known as the Laser Weapon System, or LaWS for short, is designed to destroy small boats and even drone aircraft [2]. The LaWS, much like the Iron Beam, serves to eliminate targets in a much more cost efficient manner. According to Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of Naval Research, each pulse of the weapon costs under a dollar [2].

[1] Williams, Dan. “Israel Plans Laser Interceptor ‘Iron Beam’ for Short-range Rockets.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 19 Jan. 2014. Web. 01 Oct. 2014.

[2] Martinez, Luis. “Navy’s New Laser Weapon Blasts Bad Guys From Air, Sea.”Yahoo! News. Yahoo!, 09 Apr. 2013. Web. 01 Oct. 2014.

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