I seem to remember a certain vessel I served on having one fitted during our time out in Lebanon in 1983/84. We weren't supposed to know anything about it, but it was pretty obvious when they used to test the damned thing at night and try and keep people off the upper scupper (not the we stayed off of course). I think it was loaned to us by a Yank vessel that was out there at the same time.
This started as part of Ronny Rayguns Star Wars plan, you know the one that crippled the Evil Empire. Pricey yes but developing a system that effectively will send similar energy to a 4.5 inch brick many hundreds of kilometres at the speed of light, and point it accurately.
I think the septics have a couple of advantages over us in things like this, firstly they have a lot more cash in the first place so can actually affort to splash it a bit, secondly a lot more of their people seem to stay in the same area for much longer this helps to maintain the impetus in projects rather than continually having new people coming in who need to change things to make their name. Fianlly I think the Scuds in GW1 really did frighten them and they realised that if ballistic missile had real nasties in them shooting them down with patriot did little good you really did need to hit them just after launch which was always going to need the 'death ray' approach
As to your problem with the chain, you should really consider yourself luck that there is a store at all even if it is empty. Until we get moved on from the current system of setting and measuring targets you will I suspect be stuck with this sort of thing. It is in some ways a bit like the old minimum stack problem we had in the 70s where stores would not issue when stock fell to the minimum level so you had warehouses full of stiuff that they wouldn't issue