The LaWS, an acronym for Laser Weapons System, is not science fiction. It is not experimental. It is deployed on board the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship. It was deployed last July 18, 2017 Tuesday. U.S. Navy Tests World’s First Laser Weapons System the U.S. Navy recently tested the world’s first-ever active laser weapons system, which is now deployed and ready for war. The system has special materials that release photons, and, at the speed of light, it silently hits an object, burning it to a temperature of thousands of degrees.

With just a few milliseconds the drone’s wing lit up, heated to a temperature of thousands of degrees, lethally damaging the aircraft and sending it hurtling down to the sea. Each strike travels 50,000 times the speed of an incoming ICBM. It operates in an invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum so you don’t see the beam, it doesn’t make any sound, it’s completely silent and it’s incredibly effective at what it does. The $40 million system requires electrical power and a three-man team. Its cost per use is also quite impressive for such a revolutionary new weapon: approximately $1 per shot.

The laser can aim that at any particular spot on a target, and disable and destroy as necessary. The system, whose strikes are silent and invisible, is currently active at sea. It is primarily intended to take on drones, aircraft, and small vessels that could be used in an attack from countries such as Iran and North Korea. According to an official one of the weapon’s biggest strengths is its versatility. And the laser is intended primarily to disable or destroy aircraft and small boats. The Navy is developing more powerful, second-generation systems which would bring more significant targets into its crosshairs: missiles.

Until now those missions remain classified for military purposes. When interviewed the Commander and its crew are aware of the potential capabilities of the laser weapon. According to experts the weapon was so precise that could lessen the collateral damage in warzones. LaWS begins with an advantage no other weapon ever invented comes even close to matching. It moves, by definition, at the speed of light. For comparison, that is 50,000 times the speed of an incoming ICBM.