While Terrans had experimented with laser weapons since the 20th century, deployment to real serving military uses didn’t start to happen until the late 2010s.
One of the first documented deployments was by the US Navy in the form of the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) on board the USS Ponce as a defensive weapon against drones and missiles. The weapon consisted of six commercial welding lasers joined together, and could deliver 30 million times as much power as a hand-held laser pointer of the era. It was operated using an Xbox-style controller and was used to simply disable a target’s sensors and instruments, or destroy it completely. As well as improved accuracy compared to conventional systems, another big advantage of LaWS was its cost, as the price of firing the laser was just under USD $1 per shot, compared to the USD $2 million needed for a traditional missile.