If there was any doubt that the military has new confidence in its forthcoming laser arsenal, the Navy’s top geeks want to outfit Marines with a laser cannon to shoot small drones out of the sky.
Specifically, the Office of Naval Research thinks that Marine air-ground task forces are too vulnerable to adversaries flying cheap, small spy drones overhead, like the four-pound Raven the Marines themselves used in Iraq. Its answer: outfit Marine ground vehicles with laser guns.
It’s all part of a new Office of Naval Research program, formally unveiled Thursday, with the clunky name of Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy on the Move. For the time being, it’s just a research effort, but the office expects to award grants and contracts for it worth up to $400,000. And it’s doable.