As part of a long-term Navy project, Boeing and BAE Systems have joined together a solid-state laser weapon with an Mk-38 25mm machine gun in an attempt to protect surface ships using “death rays.”
Reported by Spencer Ackerman from Wired.com’s Danger Room, the Mk-38 is able to fire off 180 rounds per minute with a range of 2000 yards and the laser blast tops out at 10 kilowatts. While that is below what is considered effective, the weapon is still a prototype and is being funded by a $2.8 million Navy contract.
It also has a few more obstacles to overcome, including ability to perform at sea (the laser utilizes a crystal medium that can get covered in salt and other debris, making it less effective), as well as being able to power it using the generators on board the ships.
Although they have the $2.8 million contract backing them, they are also concerned that there will be an issue with budgeting that might also put the project on hold. In the meantime, they will continue testing and developing their new weapon.