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Raytheon's killer laser takes aim

Raytheon shows the world how it used a high-powered laser, combined with a Phalanx Close-in weapon system, to shoot four down unmanned aerial vehicles.

On Tuesday Raytheon and the U.S. Navy announced the successful test of a solid-state laser weapon system, and that it had killed four unmanned aerial vehicles. Here, we see a graphic taken from a Raytheon animation showing the path of two incoming UAVs and the ship carrying the laser weapon targeting them.

PORTSMOUTH, R.I.--Defense contractor Raytheon and the U.S. Navy said Tuesday that they had successfully conducted a test in which they used a high-power, solid-state laser, in conjunction with a Phalanx Close-in Weapon System, to kill four unmanned aerial vehicles out of the sky off the coast of California.

The system was electrically powered, and Raytheon said it offers the military a very cost-efficient and nearly unlimited "magazine" for shooting down things like threatening UAVs, or perhaps, airplanes. "Once development is completed," Raytheon said in a release, "the Laser Area Weapon System will give the warfighter a speed-of-light solution for defeating rockets, mortars, UAVs and other targets."

Click here for a photo gallery of images from the Raytheon/U.S. Navy laser weapon test.

CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman was visiting with Raytheon in Portsmouth as part of Road Trip 2010 when word of the test came out.

Click here to read the related story on Raytheon's laser weapon, and click here to check out the entire Road Trip 2010 package.

For the next two weeks, Geek Gestalt will be on Road Trip 2010. After driving more than 18,000 miles in the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest and the Southeast over the last four years, I'll be looking for the best in technology, science, military, nature, aviation and more throughout the American Northeast. If you have a suggestion for someplace to visit, drop me a line. In the meantime, you can follow my progress on Twitter @GreeterDan and @RoadTrip and find the project on Facebook. And you can also test your knowledge of the U.S. and try to win a prize in the Road Trip Picture of the Day challenge.