Our previous prof was looking at this over a number of years and, yes it works, but it's maintenance intensive as well as being marginal on efficiency, once you've taken the suction pump into account and pipework losses. It was shown that laminar flow could be maintained with simulated dead insects on the leading edge just by increasing the suction rate. But there's always the problem of blocked holes. As the holes get smaller, much higher pressure is needed to blow them clean.
Another problem with the laser drilling of the holes is that the holes aren't smooth and are more conical in profile than cylindrical.
Also it's not a system that can be easily retrofitted on wings. We had some involvement with RR
on engine nacelles, looking at the possibilities there, but it's come to nothing so far.
As far as aircraft are concerned this technique would be a lot more effective on a flying wing than on a conventional aircraft because the wing area that could have reduced drag is a lot bigger. On a conventional aircraft there is little that can be done to reduce the drag on the fuselage, simply because it's so long, and that's about the biggest contributor to the drag of the aircraft.
And in the end there is the issue of safety. Will the aircraft performance be compromised if the system stops, or efficiency reduces?