LaWS is rather unique. Its just a proof of concept test to see if what they will encounter when they put a laser weapon on a ship operationally. This is a step past what they are doing with the X-47b. However, there are no 'X Planes' for lasers, really. LaWS ought to be viewed from that POV. OTOH, HELLADS is a step or two (or more) further along the technology curve than LaWS. Under current Pentagon procurement law, we'll have a laser weapon for ships and/or aircraft by 2020. If we didn't have to go through the insanity of that system, we could have one in a couple years.
2nd, I used to work at HELSTF. I regularly watched pundits claim things we did /that/ day were impossible with the current technology or that there was an easy counter to what we'd done (as if we hadn't tested that first). Talking heads, even ones which have some background in a subject, ought to be taken with a grain of salt. In fact, the BoAS has an axe to grind. Opposition to SDI-like weapons is historical at this point and ought to be taken in that light. Likewise, anything put out there by a defense contractor ought to be taken with an equally large grain of salt, especially one of the beltway bandits.