The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) and its industry partner have successfully tested a solid-state, high-energy laser (HEL) from a surface ship in the Pacific Ocean test range, Central California, US.

The laser was mounted onto the deck of the US Navy self-defence test ship, USS Paul Foster (DD 964), which defeated a small target vessel.

ONR maritime laser demonstrator (MLD) programme officer Peter Morrison said a HEL weapon would provide the warfighter with options when encountering small-boat threats.

ONR chief rear admiral Nevin Carr said the laser technology would not replace traditional weapon systems.

“This test provides an important data point as we move toward putting directed energy on warships. There is still much work to do to make sure it’s done safely and efficiently,” he added.