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Methods for producing a laser-guided underwater electrical discharge are provided. One or more electrodes defining a desired electrical discharge path are situated in a body of water and are attached to an external electrical power supply. A high-powered, intense laser beam is fired through one or more focusing lenses into the water. The laser beam forms an optical filament in the water, which in turn forms an ionized channel having a much greater conductivity than the surrounding water. An external power supply drives an electrical discharge along the path of the ionized channel due to its greater conductivity.