Earlier this year, we did bring you word that the U.S. Navy is all set to deploy their first laser weapon, and that historic moment happened a couple of days back. This particular laser weapon might actually usher in the age of Star Wars, so to speak, where it is capable of destroying a target from afar without having to go through the usual missile deployment. The amphibious transport ship USS Ponce has the honor of being fitted with a prototype 30-kilowatt-class Laser Weapon System, where the laser has been mounted to face the bow, and it can be fired in a few modes.
For instance, it can be fired in a dazzling warning flash all the way to a destructive beam when cranked up, allowing it to set a drone or even a small water-borne vessel on fire. The Ponce has been described by Vice Admiral John Miller, the 5th Fleet commander, to provide “a unique platform” to deploy the new capability “in an operationally relevant region.”
This laser weapon was not built just to counter Iran’s arsenal of small armed vessels, but rather, it is meant to just deliver another level in the kinds of weapons that the Navy has at their disposal. After all, you can never tell when you need it, right? Bring on the railgun now!