For the first time in its history, the U.S. Navy fired a laser ray gun mounted on a warship, zapping — and setting fire to — an empty motorboat as it bobbed in the Pacific Ocean.
The test demonstration, which took place off the Southern California coast near San Nicholas Island, could mark a new era in Naval weaponry, officials said.
“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.”
Marking a milestone for the Navy, the Office of Naval Research and its industry partner on April 6 successfully tested a solid-state, high-energy laser (HEL) from a surface ship, which disabled a small target vessel.
The Navy and Northrop Grumman completed at-sea testing of the Maritime Laser Demonstrator (MLD), which validated the potential to provide advanced self-defense for surface ships and personnel by keeping small boat threats at a safe distance
Three archaeological sites on California’s Channel Islands show that Paleoindians relied heavily on marine resources. The Paleocoastal sites, dated between ~12,200 and 11,200 years ago, contain numerous stemmed projectile points and crescents associated with a variety of marine and aquatic faunal remains. At site CA-SRI-512 on Santa Rosa Island, Paleocoastal peoples used such tools to capture geese, cormorants, and other birds, along with marine mammals and finfish. At Cardwell Bluffs on San Miguel Island, Paleocoastal peoples collected local chert cobbles, worked them into bifaces and projectile points, and discarded thousands of marine shells. With bifacial technologies similar to those seen in Western Pluvial Lakes Tradition assemblages of western North America, the sites provide evidence for seafaring and island colonization by Paleoindians with a diversified maritime economy.
Eliza Hayward, a small sailing sloop, was acquired by the Navy in August 1917. She served in the Fifth Naval District in noncommissioned status during the next year and was returned to her owner in September 1918.
On this date in 1957 — 52 years ago — the USS Nautilus reached 60,000 nautical miles traveled, equaling its namesake from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for endurance. The real-life Nautilus was the very first nuclear-powered submarine.
The ship is now docked in Groton, Connecticut, and is a National Historical Landmark and museum.