The interaction of an off-body laser discharge with a hemisphere cylinder in supersonic flow is investigated. The objectives are 1) experimental determination of the drag reduction and energetic efficiency of the laser discharge, and 2) assessment of the capability for accurate simulation of the interaction. The combined computational and experimental study comprises two phases. In the first phase, laser discharge in quiescent air was examined. The temporal behavior of the shock wave formed by the laser discharge was compared between experiment and simulation and good agreement is observed. In the second phase, the interaction of the laser discharge with a hemisphere cylinder was investigated numerically. Details of the pressure drag reduction and the physics of the interaction of the heated region with the bow shock are included. The drag reduction due to this interaction persisted for about five characteristic times where one characteristic time represents the time for the flow to move a distance equal to the hemisphere radius. The energetic efficiency of laser discharge for the case with 50 mJ energy absorbed by the gas is calculated as 3.22.