Wired's Danger Room blog is spot on in comparing Northrop Grumman's upcoming solid state laser system to the Death Star. Promised to arrive before the end of 2008, and far earlier than Boeing's 25kW laser, it's supposed to have 100 kilowatts of power (SERIOUS pew pew action) and make use of multiple, less powerful lasers to form one giant one (see also: Voltron).
Northrop Grumman calls the individual components "laser chains," and say they've managed to successfully link two of them together (out of eight). Moreover, they have them running at peak power (30kW) for 5 minutes continuously and 40 minutes non continuously. Wired writes that a laser of this calibre should be able to knock mortars and rockets out of the sky.
Once thought to be significantly less powerful, electric lasers have progressed to the point that they're close to being a suitable chemical laser alternative. Not only that, they're also much safer in real world scenarios, evil villains notwithstanding. With Northrop Grumman assuring the Pentagon these will be ready by the end of the year, I'm getting kinda excited. [Danger Room]