The U.S. Navy recently tested an advanced laser weapon that could eventually help take out Somali pirates terrorizing the high seas.
Although the weapon is currently classified as a proof of concept device, Graeme Gibbon-Brooks, the head of Dryad Maritime Intelligence, believes the laser could "absolutely" be deployed against pirates.
"It's a very, very interesting moment for naval warfare in that we have a whole new genre of weapons. It's certainly a remarkable step forward. The ability to apply more power in a burst or the ability to manipulate that power is really where I see this going," he explained.
"[However], I think if you watch the video and think that's what they intend to do to Somali pirates in a year, you don't understand what's being set out in front of them. It could be used in any type of naval warfare."
Indeed, Michael Deitchman, director of air warfare and weapons at the Office of Naval Research, said the laser could be used to ward off an attack, or "dialed down" to a non-lethal level where it becomes a very bright and intimidating targeting light.
"[The recent test] demonstrated once and for all that we could get material damage effects with a laser at sea, and it really gives us confidence to proceed on with directed energy systems," he added.