HMS Hermes may have been one of the ships equipped with a laser weapon (Photo: Royal Navy)
The Soviet 1K17 Szhatie laser tank (Image: Vitaly V. Kuzmin/Wikipedia)
Artist's concept of a Soviet laser weapon (Image: DIA/Wikipedia)
Artist's concept of a US orbital laser (Image: US Air Force)
Despite recent demonstrations by the US Navy, we still think of laser weapons as being things of the future. However, previously-classified British documents prove that not only were the major powers working on laser weapons in the 1970s and 80s, but that they were already being deployed with combat units in war zones. A letter from the Ministry of Defence released under the 30-year rule reveals that laser weapons were deployed on Royal Navy ships during the Falklands War in 1982, and that the British government was concerned about similar weapons being developed behind the Iron Curtain.
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