Rail Gun

It isn’t the incredible precision, the devastating effects, or the sheer coolness of the technology behind the US Navy’s new laser and rail gun systems that are so appealing. It’s the fact that they’re cheap. That has Washington’s attention.

Lasers capable of taking out drones and attack boats will be installed on naval vessels this year and rail guns are being planned for next year. At a cost of hundreds of dollars per rail gun shot and dozens of dollars per laser shot, they present a stark comparison to traditional missiles that can cost millions per shot.

“It fundamentally changes the way we fight,” said Capt. Mike Ziv, the man in charge of deploying the new technology.

The weapons are far from perfect. Unlike our vision of bright red laser beams knocking out anything in the sky is a false one. These lasers are not capable of shooting down high-velocity targets such as incoming missiles and the beams they emit are invisible. Rail guns are closer to what we’ve envisioned, sending projectiles at impossible speeds across great distances to cause incredible damage, but they require more electricity to operate than the vast majority of naval vessels today are able to produce.

Still, it’s pretty amazing that these futuristic weapons are going to be operational very soon.

According to CBS News:

For the Navy, it’s not so much about the whiz-bang technology as it is about the economics of such armaments. Both costs pennies on the dollar compared with missiles and smart bombs, and the weapons can be fired continuously, unlike missiles and bombs, which eventually run out.

Read More: CBS News

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It isn't the incredible precision, the devastating effects, or the sheer coolness of the technology behind the US Navy's new laser and rail gun systems that are so appealing. It's the fact that they're cheap. That has Washington's attention. Lasers capable of taking out drones and attack boats will be...