If you own an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), here’s piece of advice: don’t fly it near San Nicholas Island, California, or it could be blasted out of the sky – by a laser. Two such vehicles were successfully shot down there on May 24th by a US Navy laser weapon. According to the official press release, this marks “the first detect-thru-engage laser shoot-down of a threat representative target in an over-the-water, combat representative scenario.”
Members of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) utilized a laser shot through a beam director on a KINETO tracking mount, controlled by a MK 15 Phalanx Close In Weapon System (CIWS). The Navy’s Laser Weapon System (LaWS) has already shot down UAVs in other scenarios, bringing the total number of downed flying robots to seven.
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