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China is shooting down drones with lasers

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Today, China revealed its first anti-drone laser weapon, on the heels of a similar deployment by the US military earlier this year. According to state media, the system can bring down a drone within five seconds of locating the target, and is operable within a 1.2 mile radius of the installation. The system is designed for drones flying at altitudes around 1600 feet and at speeds of just over 100 miles per hour, putting most military drones within reach of the device. In the weapon's first public test, Chinese officials used the new laser to shoot down more than 30 drones.

In 2012, the US military tested a similar device aboard the USS Ponce, successfully tracking and bringing down a surveillance drone, and laser-based weapons have become a standard line of defense against drones in the years since. By training a high-energy beam on the craft for long enough, the weapons are able to burn through the crafts in mid-air, and they are small enough to mount on a truck. The attack requires sustained contact with the target, making it ideal for less maneuverable aircraft like the predator drone, although similar attacks have also been proposed for destroying missiles before they reach their intended target.