A real laser weapon will be deployed on a Navy ship this summer in the Persian Gulf. Newsy provided The Examiner with a video report on April 8, 2014. The presenter is Candice Aviles. It is, however, still a prototype with the current acronym of "LaWS" or The Laser Weapon System. The weapon deployment is to take place on the USS Ponce. Chief of Naval Research Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder has described the laser weapon as "revolutionary". Asymmetric threats to military forces should be easily and cheaply vanquished by the new weapon.
Deploying the new laser weapon system is important for its "ease of use" and that the cost per "shot" is about one dollar. That should make a "USS Cole" type scenario very interesting for the military and the enemy! The at-sea testing was announced at the 2013 Sea-Air-Space Expo. Candice went on to report - as does the Navy - the laser weapon has been tested successfully already. 2011 saw the LaWS take out some "small boat threats". 2012 witnessed the take-down of some small aircraft - unmanned of course.
The Navy's LaWS laser weapon system deployment looks to be almost child's play. The death-dealing device can deploy its energy bursts with a video game like controller. A Phalanx close-in weapon targeting and tracking capability is basically switched to the controller. One weapons officer will basically control all the functions including the trigger. It will be interesting to see if firing the weapon on some targets requires Presidential approval. The deployment is a controlled test to determine just how lethal and accurate is the weapon.
The Navy's Phalanx system and laser weapon testing before the summer deployment has one guessing that the military's Solid State Laser could become a reality. If the testing is rated a "pass" three military systems vendors have been lined up for further development. The chosen companies are Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Raytheon. Success in all of this may mean the weapons will be fully deployed in 2016 on Littoral Class ships and guided-missile destroyers. That may mean having a first energy-weapon exchange or battle at or after that time.