Don't be strapping on that holster for your ray gun just yet, but a couple of weapons mongers are making solid progress toward weapons-grade lasers. Raytheon's Laser Area Defense System (LADS) can take down a 60mm mortar, acting all like Star Wars and everything. But wait, those zapped mortars weren't flying through the air—they were just lying on the ground like sitting ducks, an easy target.

Not to be outdone, Northrop is aiming to build the world's first 100kW solid-state laser, with 100kW being the threshold where these things start getting dangerous enough to be called weapons. Supposedly if you focus these laser beams in a certain way, you got yourself a battlefield-strength ray gun. But don't worry, this is all done To Serve Man.

Electric Lasers Shoot Mortars, Gain Strength [DefenseTech]