It’s a warm November day in the Persian Gulf. The radar system of the USS Ponce detects an incoming vessel. An operator aboard the ship, working a controller not dissimilar to a PlayStation 4 handset, takes aim at the target using the Navy’s Laser Weapon System or LaWS high-aperture telescope. He sees a red, rigid-hulled inflatable boat on fast approach. The operator executes the command to fire. No sound emerges from the deck of the Ponce; there is no burst of gunpowder. The laser precisely destroys a three-foot high stack of shells on the red boat but misses entirely a decoy human just a few inches away.
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