gCaptain reports that a prototype 30-kilowatt-class Laser Weapon System (LaWS) has been installed aboard the amphibious transport ship USS Ponce, currently patrolling the Persian Gulf. The purpose of this test is to see how the weapon will behave in an operational environment.
Naval Sea Systems Command technicians developed the prototype over seven years at a cost of about $40 million. The Ponce crew was authorized to deploy the weapon after it passed a series of at-sea tests, including lasing static surface targets, the 5th Fleet spokesman Commander Kevin Stephens said in an e- mail statement.
The prototype focuses the light from six solid-state commercial welding lasers on a single spot, according to a July 31 Congressional Research Service report. It “can effectively counter surface and airborne threats, to include small boats” and drones, Miller said, and firing it costs about a dollar a shot, according to the Navy.
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