The US Navy is about to go a bit Star Wars, after signing an agreement with Boeing and military suppliers BAE Systems to start work on a seafaring version of the Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System.
Yep, laser machine guns will be the must-have feature at your nearest battleship showroom. It’ll be attached to the existing Mk 38 Machine Gun System, equipped with an M242 Bushmaster Chain gun that can unload a whole magazine of 25mm shells in less that a minute. You do not want to be skinny-dipping anywhere near this thing when it pulls in to port.
“The addition of the laser weapon module brings high-precision accuracy against surface and air targets such as small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles. The system also provides the ability to deliver different levels of laser energy, depending on the target and mission objectives,” according to Boeing.
The US recently tested a similar 15-kilowatt unit on a small boat. The boat is now a pile of ashes.
Fingers crossed for a Death Star in my lifetime (so long as its pointed at Alderaan and not Earth…)