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.