Via Fox News:
The Navy's 30-kilowatt solid-state laser aboard the USS Ponce is now being fired in operational scenarios by sailors in the Persian Gulf, marking the first-ever deployment of a sea-based directed energy weapon.Read more here.
"We've tested it in the lab we've tested it operationally at sea. Now, we are not testing it anymore. This is operational," said Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research at the Office of Naval Research. "They are using it every day."
If a small or large attack boat, missile or aircraft launched an attack upon the USS Ponce, sailors are equipped to destroy an approaching threat in seconds with the new laser weapon.
"If we had to defend that ship today, it will destroy any threat that comes in-bound. We have the ROE (rules of engagement) to support that," he said.
The Navy's Laser Weapon System, or LaWS, uses heat energy from lasers to disable or destroy targets fast, slow, stationary and moving targets. The system has successfully incinerated drones and other targets in tests shots, and is now operational aboard an amphibious transport dock, the USS Ponce.
The scalable weapon is designed to destroy threats for about 59-cents per shot, an amount that is exponentially lower that the hundreds of thousands or millions needed to fire an interceptor missile such as the Standard Missile-2, Klunder explained.
While at sea, sailors have been using the LaWS for targeting and training exercises every day.