WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — The U.S military says it is developing a laser that can be used to blind and shoot enemy drones from ground vehicles, adding to their anti-drone laser technology already crafted for ships.
The Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-the-Move (GBAD) program from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced yesterday that they are developing “an affordable alternative to traditional firepower” against unmanned drones, Live Science reports. The laser beam weapons aim for “mobile directed-energy weapons” to target and destroy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“We can expect that our adversaries will increasingly use UAVs and our expeditionary forces must deal with that rising threat,” Col. William Zamagni, acting head of ONR’s expeditionary maneuver warfare and combating terrorism department, said in a statement.
The laser systems would include a beam director, batteries, radar, a cooling system, communications and control. The mobile weapons could be used on lightweight military vehicles such as the Humvee and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
In May 2013 the system successfully completed a test to target, blind, and then destroy a drone in flight from the deck of a ship, Ars Technica reported. The Navy’s weapon targets unmanned and light aircraft, along with small attack boats denying U.S. forces access. The system, however, will not replace more traditional weapons for taking care of larger targets.
“Everything about this program is geared toward realizing a viable directed-energy capability in support of that objective to allow our Marines to be fast and lethal,” Lee Mastroianni, program manager for force protection in ONR’s expeditionary maneuver warfare and combating terrorism department, said in a statement.
According to LIveScience, the Department of Defense High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, the Penn State Electro-Optics Center and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command have invested money and research into the new laser technology development.
The laser system is being developed as part of the ONR’s Future Naval Capabilities program to bring futuristic technology into the military.