Are Technica reports US Navy approves first laser weapon for operation aboard Persian Gulf ship "In speaking to USNI News, ONR Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder said that ‘The captain of [the USS Ponce] has all of the authorities necessary if there was a threat inbound to that ship to protect our sailors and Marines [and] we would defend that ship with that laser system.’ Klunder added that the laser weapon system would be used against drones, helicopters, or patrol craft.
Although the laser weapon system is not as powerful as other weapons aboard the Ponce, Christopher Harmer, senior naval analyst with the Institute for the Study of War told The Wall Street Journal that the directed energy of the laser aimed at a target would ‘cause a chemical and physical disruption in the structural integrity of that target.’ Harmer added that the advantage of the laser weapon system is that it can disable many oncoming targets without needing to reload ammunition: ‘as long as you've got adequate power supply and adequate cooling supply.’
The laser shot doesn't look like the photon torpedoes of Star Trek—in fact it looks like nothing at all. The energy beam is invisible (and costs the Navy $0.59 per shot, according to the WSJ). A press release from ONR stated that the laser weapon system was able to hit targets out of the sky and at sea in high winds, heat, and humidity without fail."