US Navy launches laser weapon in Middle East (PHOTO)

The test took place on a waterway damaged by the war, known for its strategic importance.

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The U.S. Navy used a high-energy laser weapon to destroy a floating target in the Gulf of Aden. The test took place on a waterway destroyed by the war, known for its strategic importance.

The U.S. Navy used a prototype laser weapon demonstration system (LWSD) on Tuesday to successfully destroy a floating training target, the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet announced Wednesday. The weapon, considered a continuation of the next generation of the existing laser weapon system (LaWS), was placed in the USS Portland, an amphibious transport dock ship.

Special color photographs released by the Navy show a laser beam being emitted from the bow of the ship and focusing on the static target.

At 150 kilowatts, the LWSD is the Navy's most powerful laser, about five times more powerful than the 30-kilowatt LaWS, which is capable of shooting down small aircraft. Tuesday's test shooting was not the first test shot, as the weapon was used last year to shoot down a drone over the Pacific Ocean.

The latest test, however, was conducted in a special part of the world. The Gulf of Aden separates East Africa from the Arabian Peninsula and its waters are washed off the southern coast of Yemen, where a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and under the auspices The United States has been waging war on Iranian-backed Houthi rebels since 2015.

The Fifth Fleet briefly outlined the importance of the LWSD test in the Gulf of Aden, saying Wednesday that "the region's geography, climate and strategic importance provide a unique environment for technological innovation."