US Army plans to use Star Wars-style lasers to take down enemy drones

Artist’s impression of US Stryker vehicles loaded with laser cannons

The US Army has said it will deploy vehicles armed with lasers to shoot down enemy drones in the next three years.

They may also be able to target helicopters and incoming missiles.

A report from the military suggested they will be on battlefields by 2022 and will be attached to a platoon of four vehicles.

‘The time is now to get directed energy weapons to the battlefield,’ Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, said in the report.

‘The Army recognises the need for directed energy lasers as part of the Army’s modernisation plan.

‘This is no longer a research effort or a demonstration effort. It is a strategic combat capability, and we are on the right path to get it in soldiers’ hands.’

Easier to hit drones with lasers than conventional munitions (Northrop Grumman)

The high energy lasers installed on the US Army ‘Stryker’ vehicles would travel at the speed of light and would simply melt enemy drones and aircraft.

Despite the destructive power, the energy cost will be high. Each laser cannon will require 50 kilowatts of power, which is enough to power three homes.

The plan to move to laser-based weapons has been in development for several years as small, nimble drones are difficult to hit with conventional weaponry.


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