Navy to send laser weapon to Persian Gulf

April 8, 2013 at 3:38 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy said Monday it will deploy a laser weapon prototype in the Persian Gulf capable of disabling patrol boats and destroying flying drones.

The shipboard laser will be mounted on a converted amphibious transport and docking ship in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships, The New York Times reported, adding the Tehran government is known to be building remotely piloted surveillance drones that could potentially carry rockets.

The laser attack weapon will not be operational until next year, but in making the announcement, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations, appeared to warn Iran not to step up activity in the gulf, the newspaper noted.

"Equipping Navy surface ships with lasers could lead to ... a technological shift for the Navy, a 'game changer' comparable to the advent of shipboard missiles in the 1950s," an assessment of the weapon by the Congressional research Service said.

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