They’ve got the laser, now they just need the shark

So, the Navy deployed its Laser Weapon System (LaWS) aboard USS Ponce forward deployed to the Persian Gulf.  Intended to complement the existing suite of close in weapon systems, LaWS is seen in this video demonstrating its prowess.


USS Ponce is an interesting ship in and of itself. Formerly known as LPD-15, an Austin class Landing Platform Dock, it was for many years used to transport Marines and their vehicles and such. She was supposed to be retired in 2011 after thirty years of service. But the Navy was looking at a concept known as the Afloat Forward Staging Base, or AFSB. Before building ships for that purpose, the Navy decided the Ponce would be used as an interim test bed to see what parts of the concept worked, and which didn’t. After a refit period, and being manned with an unusual Navy and Civilian Mariner crew, Ponce was deployed to Bahrain to serve as the forward operating base for both minesweeping helicopters, and for small mine warfare craft.

Since Ponce was already being used for one operational test mission, it made a good bit of sense for her to also host the initial operational testing of LaWS.

No word one when sharks will get their frikken laser beams.

5 thoughts on “They’ve got the laser, now they just need the shark”

  1. The water kicking up like missing rounds, what’s up with that? Is the laser missing and boiling a small area of water? Why is it missing when it can hit that drone so quickly.

    Also: that would make one hell of a telescope mount.

    1. The actual target shatters and sends debris flying. They’re not just targeting the boat, but a small, discrete piece of the boat. That’s pretty impressive.

  2. At 0:54, you can see the target that the laser is shooting at — looks like a few tubes with small rockets. If that is correct, when the rockets are heated by the laser they will “cook off” and explode, accounting for the splashes in the area around the boat.

    Normally, to get explosions on target like you see here, you need targets that are either pressurized or have energetic materials in them (HE, gunpowder, fuel vapor, etc). Just putting a laser on target won’t typically blow it up. It might melt or catch afire, though.

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