US Army’s laser-truck shoots down 90 mortars and drones.
The 10kw Boeing-built laser has destroyed 90 airborne mortar and drone targets during three weeks of testing in New Mexico. While the targets aren’t completely blown apart by the laser, the Army’s project manager says “[The target] basically falls where it was going to fall, but it doesn’t explode when it hits the ground. We turn it into a rock, basically.”
The system will eventually be scaled up to 50kw and even 100kw lasers in the coming years.
In some situations, lasers would be a huge improvement on current defense strategies which use expensive missiles to shoot down incoming ordnance.
Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, for example, launches $40,000 missiles to take out $1,000 rockets. The Army laser, meanwhile, costs about a “cup of diesel fuel” per shot and, traveling at the speed of light, hits its target almost instantaneously.