The U.S. Navy has announced that a new laser-based weapons system, dubbed LaWS, has been successfully tested and is ready for use.
The Office of Naval research announced Thursday that the weapons system successfully deployed and operated aboard the USS Ponce in the Arabian Gulf, according to a U.S. Navy report.
A Navy video shows the weapon being used to destroy ordnance aboard a moving target vessel, and dazzling and destroying a test Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or UAV.
The weapon, which consists of a 30-kilowatt solid-state laser, marks the first deployment of a sea-based directed-energy weapon by the U.S. military, according to Fox News.
"Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations," said Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, in a statement. "We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality."
Klunder added that the weapon cost “less than a dollar a shot,” and as such was highly desirable during times of tightened budgets.
The system is operated by a sailor with a flat-screen monitor and a video game-style controller, and has been integrated into the Ponce's combat system, according to the Navy Times.
U.S. Central Command has authorized the Ponce’s commander to use the laser weapon to defend itself if needed, according to ABC News.