The Defense Department is looking to industry to help make lasers and other directed energy weapons a major part of the warfighter’s toolkit. But a number of hurdles remain before the systems can be fully fielded.
Officials envision a wide range of military applications for the technology, from missile defense to electronic warfare to blowing up vehicles and aircraft.
Conceptually “it’s hard to think of a mission that they couldn’t be applied to,” said Andrew Hunter, director of the defense-industrial initiatives group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin is leading the charge for directed energy at the Pentagon. It is his No. 2 priority behind hypersonics, according to officials.