U.S. Navy deploys an operational battlefield laser weapon for the first time

In another step closer to the full-tilt laser naval battles we've often fought in our geeky brains, the U.S. military has deployed a light-amplification weapon on the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf.  

Earlier this summer, we told you of the Navy's plans to equip one of their ships with a new Laser Weapon System, AKA LaWS.   Officials have now announced the successful implementation of those plans, and we are now laser-capable!  You may fire when ready.

The prototype for its High Energy Laser (HEL) weapon was installed as part of the Navy's regular training exercises and will be used to shoot down enemy drones and melt disable small attack boats used by pirates and terrorists.  This is the first laser weapon sent into the field for real-world evaluation and represents the initial stages of an eventual larger-scale deployment across the entire surface fleet.  The USS Ponce, a 43-year-old armed transport ship, has been patroling the Gulf since late August armed with this 30-kilowatt-class solid-state laser system, and tests will continue for the next 12 months.  

Have a look at the Navy's new $40 million laser toy and tell us if it makes you feel safer when you sleep at night.

(Via io9)

More from around the web