Once again, scientists and researchers have made science fiction a little more real. The US Navy is working on getting what they're simply calling a Laser Weapon System (LaWS) ready for deployment by next year. And yes, it's exactly what you think it is.
The Nave intends LaWS for use against small enemy vessels and pesky surveillance drones (no destroying giant warships via laser...yet). In a video posted on its YouTube channel, the Navy states that LaWS also has the capacity to be used as a non-lethal deterrent to "dazzle enemy sensors and to immobilize or destroy enemy targets." This should provide commanders with a multi-tiered threat response from one system (and possibly an excuse to go "pew pew" quietly under their breaths).
After functioning successfully on a previous test run, it looks like the U.S Navy's aiming to equip the USS Ponce with LaWS sometime early next year. However, before you get your dander up and start worrying about apocalyptic, energy weapon-inspired doom, LaWS won't be able to do things like shoot down fighter planes and so on, though it's something Navy researchers want to attempt.
But, still...lasers, folks. Lasers.
This story, "US Navy says laser weapons are coming; expect pew-pewing to begin next year" was originally published by TechHive.