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This past week, naval forces on the west coast of the U.S. successfully tested a new high-powered laser system by setting a vacant boat on fire from miles away. And if implemented, the system has more applications than just deterring swashbuckling foes.

“This is very important to the Navy’s future weapon systems,” said Rear Adm. Nevin Carr, chief of the Office of Naval Research. “By turning energy into a weapon, we become more efficient and more effective.”

Aside from fighting pirates with lasers, the Navy spokesman said that the new weapons system could be used to destroy incoming cruise missiles, blast apart drones, or even take down high-powered ballistic missiles. Nice!

“In the distant future, I can envision a day when this technology is outfitted on cruisers and destroyers,” he said.

Even Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear would approve of the new weaponry. Officers could also apparently “set lasers to stun” by blasting enemy personnel with an intense wave of heat. The weapon was developed by Northrop who won a $98 million contract to create it in July of 2009.

The Navy won’t be fighting pirates with lasers just yet, though. Even if the laser passes all tests without a hitch, equipping battleships with the new weapon will likely be a very costly measure. During a time where the government is trying to cut trillions off the budget, I just can’t see congress finding room for futuristic laser weapons. What do you think of the idea of the Navy using this new weapon? Is it really the future? Or just media-hype? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section!