U.S. Navy Tests Laser Weapon in the Gulf of Aden


Wed, 15-12-2021 03:46 PM, Aden

Gulf of Aden (AP)

The US Navy announces that it tested a laser weapon and destroyed a floating target in the Mideast, a system that could be used to counter bomb-laden drone boats deployed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.

The test yesterday saw the USS Portland test-fire its Laser Weapon System Demonstrator at the target in the Gulf of Aden, the body of water separating East Africa from the Arabian Peninsula.

Photo provided by the U.S. Navy showing aboard USS Portland (LPD 27) observing a high-energy laser weapon system demonstration on Dec. 14, 2021 while sailing in the Gulf of Aden.Photo: U.S. Navy / DVIDS / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin Kates

The Navy’s Mideast-based 5th Fleet described the laser as having “successfully engaged” the target in a statement. Previously, the Portland used the laser to bring down a flying drone in May 2020.

The Gulf of Aden sits along the southern coast of war-torn Yemen, which has been at war since Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized its capital, Sanaa, in 2014. A Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict in March 2015 but the stalemate conflict has dragged on for years, becoming the world’s worst humanitarian disaster and killing an estimated 110,000 people.

The war also has bled into the surrounding waterways, like the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb, which connects the sea to the Gulf of Aden. These waterways lead to the Suez Canal and onto the Mediterranean Sea, making them crucial for international shipping and global energy supplies.

- File: In this handout infrared photo from the US Marine Corps, the USS Portland fires a laser weapon system at a target floating in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. (Staff Sgt. Donald Holbert/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

Gulf of AdenSouth YemenLaser WeaponU.S. Navy