After successful testing last year, the Navy is preparing to deploy its first directed energy weapon to the fleet. When it puts to sea this summer, the afloat forward staging base ship USS Ponce will be equipped with the Navy’s Laser Weapon System (LaWS).
Its purpose is not to vaporize enemy ships but to provide a low-cost way for the Navy to defend against drones, small boats, light aircraft, and missiles at ranges of about a mile.
While the Navy will still depend on missiles and guns to defend against bigger targets, the LaWS system is designed to cost about a dollar a shot without the fuss and muss of the depleted uranium bullets spewed by the Navy’s Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS).
And thus, reality catches up with the Science-Fiction of our youth. At least a little bit. I am still waiting for my space colony, damn it. And my Gundam.
Via Ars Technica.