The Navy plans to install a laser weapon prototype on a ship this summer for at-sea testing in the Persian Gulf.

The technology, called the Laser Weapon System, will be the first of its kind to be deployed, the Navy said.

The idea is that the laser could zap dangerous swarming small boats and flying drones while on the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf. Its power also can be scaled down, presenting the Navy a non-lethal alternative to ward off threats such as pirates, terrorists and smugglers. […]