Laser to strike down drones soon a reality

Washington, June 13 (IANS): It's ben imagined for long by sci-fi novelists and gamers and is now a reality. The US military is developing a laser weapon to shoot down enemy drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The US Navy has already developed such a laser and, according to the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Virginia, they are now interested in developing a similar weapon for ground vehicles.

"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, was quoted as saying in media reports.

The system has been developed as a part of the GBAD (Ground-Based Air Defence Directed Energy On-the-Move) programme.

It aims to provide "an affordable alternative to traditional firepower" to guard against UAVs, ONR officials said.

The laser system includes a beam director, batteries, radar, cooling system, communications and control.

The system can be used on lightweight military vehicles such as the Humvee and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

Various components of the laser have already been tested in detecting and tracking drones.

The laser system is likely to be ready for field testing by 2016.


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