back to article US Navy's LASER CANNON WARSHIP: USS Ponce sent to Gulf

After years of promises the US Navy has deployed its first operational laser cannon, which has been built into the USS Ponce and sent into a combat zone. The 30-kilowatt laser weapon system (LaWS) has been mounted high up on Ponce's superstructure, and a flashy video released by the Navy shows it blowing up parts of boats and …

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  1. vidura

    science eh?

    however impressive military technology may be, it does not further our understanding of the physical universe. The reg needs another category for articles like this so I can avoid navigate to them more easily. What about 'shooting stuff' or 'shoot fast and often' or just 'blowing stuff up'

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: science eh?

      Well done Sir! You avoided it so vigorously you accidentally entered a comment. bravo!

    2. Richard 81

      Re: science eh?

      What about all those technologies that came out of war that are now used in civilian life all the time?

      Penicillin? Computers? Radar, and microwave ovens as a byproduct?

      Of course, there are plenty of technologies that aren't useful for anything other than killing people, but in this case I'm sure there are plenty of civilian applications for big lasers that can burn things as long, safe, distances.

      1. Tony Haines

        Re: science eh?

        "What about all those technologies that came out of war that are now used in civilian life all the time?"

        Penicillin is a technology which came out of civilian life and was scaled up just in time to be used in war. Maybe the need to treat large numbers of casualties sped up the scale-up, but it would have happened regardless.

        The early computer work was war related but probably had little effect due to failure to complete (difference engine) or secrecy (WWII cypher-breaking classification). By accounts some of the main proponents of computer development (particularly Tommy Flowers) succeeded in spite of the war machine, not because of it. They may well have had the inclination to develop the machine off their own bat if the war had not occurred.

      2. Rol Silver badge

        Re: science eh?

        Yeah! Forget Flame Grilled Whoppers and try Laserated beef medallions at Ruby Rod's Ranchero Cafe.

        It's the future of cuisine perfection, don't you know!

        Bye, bye microwave, rotisserie, cooker, hob and all, and meet the latest in must have kitchen appliances, the Lightwave multifunction food mangler and intruder dispatcher.

        We also supply to crematoriums.

      3. Shovel

        Re: science eh?

        "I'm sure there are plenty of civilian applications for big lasers that can burn things as long, safe, distances."

        Could be great to thwart Japanese Whaling ships. Use the laser to 'ruin' harpooned animals as they are dragged onto the boat. That way the carcass becomes useless to the processing ship.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: science eh?

      The headline of the article didn't give you a clue then? Just asking.

    4. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: "Ponce"

      Naming a ship after effeminate men. How appropriate for the US armed forces....

      1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

        Re: "Ponce"

        And there was me thinking it was a someone who lives off the earnings from prostitutes -- and from that my first recollection which is of scrounging something off someone else. 'Can I ponce a ciggie off you?'.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Ponce"

          I think you'd probably get something else than a ciggie (or tab) if you asked someone up north that, probably a bloody nose. Ponce up here usually follows the original posters usage.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Ponce"

          to use the colloquial term, at least around London, that phrase should be "can i ponce a fag off ya?"

      2. Nehmo

        Re: "Ponce"

        The meaning of "ponce" you are referring to wasn't common when the ship was christened in1965. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=ponce

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Ponce"

          urban dictionary? _THAT'S_ your source reference to prove your point?

          (not saying it's wrong in this case, just when you googled it, nearly any other result that was returned would have been a more reliable one)

        2. bjr

          Re: "Ponce"

          This sounds like a case of two peoples separated by a common language. Ponce is just a name in the US, I've never heard it used as anything else. Ponce de Leon discovered Florida, that's the best know Ponce.

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: "Ponce"

            "Ponce de Leon discovered Florida, that's the best know Ponce."

            By now Ponce da Quirm might be more famous to much of the Reg's readership

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Ponce" @the Vogon

        You are an ASS.

        One that enjoys shirtless pictures of Putin way to much.

        How about trying that statement around a few Marines instead of anonymously on the web?

        1. TheRealRoland

          Re: "Ponce" @the Vogon

          >How about trying that statement around a few Marines instead of anonymously on the web?

          I like the irony, posted as AC.

      4. GBE

        Re: "Ponce"

        Really?

        We have to explain this to you _every_ friggin' time there's an article about this ship?

        The ship was named after the city in Puerto Rico, which was named after the Spanish conquistador who became the first Spanich governer of that island. The connotation (which is strictly British BTW) over which you are giggling like a 12-year old didn't come into use until later. One might more logically ask why Brits named effeminate men after after a Spanish conquistador.

        1. Vociferous

          Re: "Ponce"

          > One might more logically ask why Brits named effeminate men after after a Spanish conquistador

          Not familiar with British stereotypes of other nationalities, I take it?

      5. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: TheVogon Re: "Ponce"

        May just be me, but I remember the Vogons as being extreme beureacrats, not homophobes.

        1. TheRealRoland

          Re: TheVogon "Ponce"

          >extreme beureacrats

          The butter police or something?

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: TheVogon "Ponce"

          "I remember the Vogons as being extreme beureacrats, not homophobes."

          We are not great fans of sexual deviancy - unless it involves our grandmothers and / or moist peat, but I can't see anything referring to that in my original post? Or are all queers effeminate? - I must have missed that if so...

      6. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: "Ponce"

        You really have no clue do you? Did you even check to see if that's the whole name or the shortened version? Have a downvote.

      7. CarbonLifeForm

        Re: "Ponce"

        Unaware Juan Ponce De Leon was a poofter...

    5. VeNT

      Re: science eh?

      May I nominate it be called ka-fucking-boom? Wonder if anyone will get the early 2000s reference.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: VeNT Re: science eh?

        "....called ka-fucking-boom?....." Shirley, given the expected progression through 9K to 10K, this is the BFG1K?

    6. veeguy

      Re: science eh?

      Hows about you use your native intelligence to drill down through the obvious text of the heading like- *NAVAL*, *WEAPON*, *LASER CANNON*, etc and decide it's a story you don't care to read?

  2. cosymart
    Thumb Up

    USS Ponce

    I thought that this was a wind up...There really is a USS Ponce. Named after an American lobbyist by any chance? :-)

    1. RISC OS

      Re: USS Ponce

      Really??? what's the sister ship called? USS Pimp?

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: USS Ponce

        Surely the sister ship of the Ponce would be the Ho?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: USS Ponce

          USS Yoo-Hoo

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: USS Ponce

          No, the sister ship is known as the USS Reagan... ;)

      2. NeilPost

        Re: USS Ponce

        As it's now an OFCOM approved word, unlikely to get removed by the PC mob, can we look forward to the UK ship HMS Queer ?

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: USS Ponce

          Its maybe a clever psychological navy battle tactic - the enemy identifies the ship and then spends the next half-hour sniggering, giggling and pointing fingers at it. During which time the navy can either make their escape or press home an attack?

          At least for enemies that don't know their history or pronounciation anyway.

        2. Alfred

          Re: USS Ponce

          "can we look forward to the UK ship HMS Queer ?"

          You've already had HMS Oberon, king of the fairies :)

        3. Elmer Phud Silver badge

          Re: USS Ponce

          Nah, HMS Cadge

        4. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: USS Ponce

          Or HMS *******.

          I couldn't actually write the word, but it's in countless British films pre-1980.

          1. Bloakey1

            Re: USS Ponce

            "Or HMS *******.

            I couldn't actually write the word, but it's in countless British films pre-1980."

            Would that be HMS Poofter?

            She went down on all hands off the coast of Lesbos. It was a hell of a mess and took the crew of HMS Venus weeks to clear it all up and their poor cabin boy suffered from a severe rectal pane <sic> ever after.

    2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: USS Ponce

      I've always known her as the USS Ponce de Leon [LPD-15]. Heck, I spent a week sleeping on her when my tin-can (Destroyer) was out to sea while I was attending a school. She's been around forever, well since 1971 according to Navy sites.

    3. Bloakey1
      Happy

      Re: USS Ponce

      As an ex infantry man, my intellectual bias is supplying me with images of sailors mincing across the deck with their arms on hips in a "where is my lino?" pose.

      look up the golden rivet and google, this is one ship where you do not want to go looking for it.

      I was amused by the assertion they made that it would not be used on human targets! of course not, ships do not do that kind of thing. They will of course use it on various receptacles containing human targets so that is alright then.

      I would also like to apologise for the inter service banter and the assertion that all sailors are gay, as we know only 99 per cent of them are.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: USS Ponce

        "As an ex infantry man, my intellectual bias is supplying me with images of sailors mincing across the deck with their arms on hips in a "where is my lino?" pose."

        I'm guessing this is your mental image (except with different uniforms).

        1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

          Re: USS Ponce --Lino?

          Lino?

          I'd be wondering where me washboard had gone.

    4. Irongut

      Re: USS Ponce

      Phrasing BOOM!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: USS Ponce

      The Royal Navy, lovely though it is in it's own way, isn't what is was. The USN is obviously much larger and better. However, the RN have way cooler ship names. Possible historic exceptions : Classic D class destroyer HMS Dainty. Or, in post hogwartian context, Leander class frigate HMS Hermione. However it might open the doors to an HMS Voldemort, which would be hilarious.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: USS Ponce

        And for those who truly want to believe in something other than reality, there's been several named: HMS Unicorn.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: HMS Unicorn

          Indeed there is a HMS Unicorn, build in 1824 and still afloat in Dundee!

          Not exactly in fighting condition, but if the gov makes any more cuts we might need to press-gang in into service once more :(

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: HMS Unicorn

            "if the gov makes any more cuts we might need to press-gang [HMS Unicorn] into service once more :("

            Presumably it couldn't be made ready in time to help out in the incident off Scotland a couple of weeks ago, when a suspected Russian submarine was observed not far from the UK base at Faslane.

            The UK, now having no maritime patrol aircraft of its own (!?), had to call for support from maritime patrol aircraft from the US, Canada, and France. That's what friends are for. (What's Trident for?)

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/11283926/Britain-forced-to-ask-Nato-to-track-Russian-submarine-in-Scottish-waters.html

            http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/how-the-hunt-for-the-red-december-in-scottish-waters-exposes-the-gaping-hole-in-brita.26083433

      2. carrera4life

        Re: USS Ponce

        My next door neighbour was chief petty officer on HMS Hermione and as part of the Royal Navy's family day, I was fortunate enough to spend the day on board, mostly in the ops room. Firing blank rounds from the mortars was amazing, as was the "attack" fly by of the harriers...

    6. Joefish
      Pirate

      Re: USS Ponce

      Rest assured the US Navy (and much of the UK armed forces) were equally amused by the commisioning of F93 HMS Beaver (1984-1999). Although there was an affinity with the new Beaver-Scout movement, it was already the tenth RN vessel to be commissioned under that name.

      1. Cliff

        Re: USS Ponce

        Sister ship USS NONCE

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