If a classic missile costs millions of dollars to produce, it only costs a single dollar to fire a shot from this weapon, the minimal cost of generating the energetic pulse. The weapon was installed on the USS Ponce for field testing in 2014. At present is not designed to engage incoming missiles, large aircraft, ships, or submerged objects Proved on tests, it worked perfectly in a variety of adverse weather conditions. “Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations,” said chief of naval research, Rear Admiral Matthew L. Klunder.
The new laser weapon, called LaWS, was tested against moving targets during operational demonstrations in the Arabian Gulf. The entire system is controlled from a video game styled controller. Humans are not a target of the weapon under stipulations of the Geneva Conventions. The Navy spent about $40 million over the past six years on research, development, and testing of the laser weapon. For the instant, LaWS are meant to complement other missile and gun-based defense systems rather than replace them.