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US Navy ready to deploy laser for 1st time

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The Laser Weapon System temporarily installed aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey in San Diego, Calif., in this July 2012 photo. (AP Photo/US Navy, John F. Williams) The Laser Weapon System temporarily installed aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey in San Diego, Calif., in this July 2012 photo. (AP Photo/US Navy, John F. Williams)

By DAVID SHARP

BATH, Maine (AP) — Some of the Navy's newest weapons sound like something out of "Star Wars," with lasers designed to shoot down drones and electric guns that fire projectiles at hypersonic speeds.

But the future is now.

The Navy plans to deploy a laser prototype on a ship this summer in the Persian Gulf. It intends to test an electromagnetic rail gun prototype aboard a vessel within two years.

Part of the appeal is the cost. They're far cheaper than missiles and smart bombs.

Capt. Mike Ziv, program manager for directed energy and electric weapon systems, says new technology can help the Navy "get ahead of the cost curve."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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