One of the U.S. Navy's oldest ships is about to get a lot more futuristic, thanks to a laser.
The advantages? It's fast, deadly, and incredibly cheap. So cheap, in fact, that it is estimated to cost about $1 a shot. That's less than a third the wholesale price of a .50 caliber bullet used in Navy machine guns. (The laser system itself is the result of $40 million in research and development, so that part isn't cheap. But the projectile sure does cost virtually nothing.)
Why the Ponce? Ponce spends time near Iran working as a base and might be particularly vulnerable to swarming attacks by small, fast Iranian boats. That all changes, of course, if it is guarded by a freaking laser.