Last time we saw the Navy's Phalanx Closed-In Weapon System (or CIWS), it was sporting a Gatling gun and shooting down mortars. Now? It's got a fancy new laser, and it's picking robotic aircraft right out of the sky.
During a test near San Nicholas Island in California, the Laser Weapon System (or LaWS) successfully shot down two UAVs in what the Navy is calling the "first detect-thru-engage laser shoot-down of a threat representative target in an over-the-water, combat representative scenario." Um, so basically the first useful combat simulation.
The tests are reminiscent of that 747-mounted laser designed to shoot down missiles and the like. Who knows — maybe in a couple of years we'll be telling you about honest-to-goodness laser rifles for infantry. The Navy seems pretty serious in its pursuit of weapons-grade laser technology.