Raytheon Invents An Airplane-Killing Laser Death RayS

Raytheon's new "Laser Weapons System" is a solid-state, six-laser array attached to a Navy Phalanx Close-In Weapons System. The "death ray" focuses 50kW of fiery death on anything airborne. Watch it kill a UAV in video below.

So much time, so many bad sci-fi movies, and finally the world has a functional death ray. Raytheon's LaWS unit has been the dream of weapons makers and military types since the invention of the laser in the 50's, it's relatively compact, hyper-accurate, can track moving objects automatically and fires six lasers simultaneously, focusing the combined energy of 50 kW on a doomed object. It's intended as a weapon of last defense and mounted alongside the Navy's awesomely powerful Phalanx gun system. The high-speed tracking system means it can take down everything from slow-moving UAVs inbound to guided missiles. The demonstration above took place in testing last May and June and shows a UAV being acquired by the targeting system and then having a hole burned through it.

And just like that, every villain has a must-have Christmas item for his volcano lair. [Popular Science]