The United States has developed the first military laser weapon, mounted on the U.S.S. Ponce. The Navy spent $40 million developing the Laser Weapons System, or LaWS, which only costs about a $1 each time it’s fired. The beam travels at the speed of light and doesn’t need to take wind speed or range into account.
Naval officers tout the advantages and benefits of the system, saying, “Operationally it works just like a laser pointer.” The weapon is silent, so enemy combatants cannot anticipate the strike. It is so accurate, it can pick drones out of the sky or specifically target an enemy ship’s engine.
This type of targeting could reduce the lethality of engaging the enemy, disabling their vehicles and weaponry while reducing casualties. Mike Opelka remarked on today’s “Pure Opelka” that the weapon’s use of photons reminds him of “Star Trek,” the 1960s science fiction show based on a naval military structure that used “photon torpedoes” and “phasers.”