The United States military has recently expressed its interest in outfitting Marine vehicles with advanced weapons systems, capable of shooting down incoming projectiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) if they become a threat.
Officials announced that this capability needs to be implemented on existing vehicles as well, and that the lasers have to be able to fire as the Marines are moving in battle formation, or within a convoy.
In the future, these battle systems will be combined with automated guns and missile launchers, providing military camps and vehicles with the ability to shoot down anything the enemy throws their way. Airborne attacks are the primary concern at this point.
Recent tests have already demonstrated that military-grade lasers can shoot down combat UAV and incoming fire, but now the Pentagon is interested in scaled-down versions of these devices, made sufficiently small to fit aboard Humvees, armored personnel carriers and similar vehicles.
Only high-energy lasers are sufficiently powerful to inflict any real damage on incoming vehicles or projectiles, so powering up these weapons is going to be a problem, on account of the limited battery capacities available today.
This implies that either the lasers or the power sources would have to feature a host of innovative, energy-saving technologies, since it's unlikely that another class of power sources will be discovered within the next few years.
What the Marines are interested in is a system similar to the one recently demonstrated by the US Navy, which uses a machine gun and a laser to defend ships against incursions carried out from small boats, Innovation News Daily
The document calling for information on such a laser system was released on April 5, by officials with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division. The paper also stresses that system will have to feature advanced target detection sensors, and command and control systems (CCS) as well.
CCS are required in order for the weapon to decide whether or not to fire on target that it interprets as possible threat. Killing all birds on a 1-mile radius around a military convoy is of no use to anyone.