SEATTLE — The Navy has never been closer to fielding lasers and other directed-energy weapons.

Technological challenges remain, but the sea service is slated to test a 150-kilowatt spectrally beam-combined fiber laser on the amphibious platform dock ship Portland this year.

And by 2021, the Navy’s director of surface warfare, Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, intends to mount a nastier warship killer on a guided-missile destroyer.

“This is something we have to have on our ships,” he told the audience at the 2019 Directed Energy Summit in Washington, D.C., on March 20.