The Army has completed testing of a laser that uses directed energy to shoot down small drones. Adversarial drones are an increasing concern for Army combat operations. This weapon uses a variety of sensors to detect threats, and harnesses a focused beam of photons at oncoming objects. A benefit to using lasers to combat the threat of drones is there is no need to reload lasers, as they use energy as ammunition.
Lieutenant General L. Neil Thurgood, Director for Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition noted, “This is the first combat application of lasers for a maneuver element in the Army. The technology we have today is ready. This is a gateway to the future.”
The system was developed through an Other Transaction Agreement with the DoD Ordnance Technology Consortium, in partnership with the National Armaments Consortium. The Army plans to have four lasers in use in FY22.
About the NAC:
The National Armaments Consortium (NAC) is the largest collaborative organization working with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop armament technologies in support of our nation’s security. The NAC is comprised of our nation’s leading technologists, engineers, designers, scientists, manufacturers, and program managers across industry, academia and our nation’s laboratories, all with the mission to develop armaments that give the United States the technological edge over our enemies. NAC members have access to the DOTC, AMTC, and NEST Program OTAs. NAC is supported by Advanced Technology International.