The U.S. Navy’s newest weaponry gadget, a solid-state laser weapon system, sounds like an impressive computer graphics element of the latest sci-fi war movie to hit theaters.  Instead, 2014 will bring the actual deployment of a laser system on the USS Ponce.  Testing has shown that the laser will be able to disable small enemy boats and aerial surveillance drones.

While the prototype cost nearly $32 million to build, each shot from the laser costs around $1. When considering the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to build and launch a single missile, this innovative system may soon become the most cost-effective option.  With nearly no environmental effects, running on electricity, it is also a much more environmentally-friendly technique.

Futuristic films and stories have become reality as the Navy hopes this technology will be enhanced and used more extensively throughout naval operations in the future. The ground-breaking new tool could also change military strategy and the way wars as we know them are conducted.

Now that a solid-state laser weaponry system has become reality, what’s next?