USS Ponce (LPD-15) Photo Credit Wikipedia
The Economist March 7th, 2020 pp71-72 Science & Technology, Military Technology, “The rise of the ray gun” “Laser weapons are almost ready to go to war”.
Long part of science fiction, laser-based weapons are starting to be deployed. Recent advances in solid state lasers and material science have facilitated the creation of small yet energetic systems. “When fitted to a small vessel called USS Ponce it [laser weapon] proved able to fry the components and motors of nearby drones and boats”. If needed the device is approved for use.
Scaling up power is the next evolution for this technology.
The benefits of laser weapons include not needing ammunition and lower cost. Current weapons may cost as much as $50,000 to down “home-made rockets that cost about $1,000”.