The Navy is confident that laser cannons will move out of science fiction and onto the decks of its surface ships by the end of the decade. Its futurists at the Office of Naval Research still have visions of scalable laser blasts that can fry an incoming missile at the rate of 20 feet of steel per second. But now that laser guns are approaching reality, Pentagon officials are starting to consider the practicalities of what they’ll be used for, and they’re not thinking missiles — yet. Among their initial missions will be the relatively easier task of tracking and destroying unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, that fly too close to Navy ships.
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One of the first tasks the Navy expects to assign its forthcoming arsenal of laser guns: shooting down drones that menace its ships.
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