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For 5 years, the Directed Energy Summit has been a central event within the directed energy community. We have seen the promise of directed energy turn into real need, as the technology and threat environment have made these weapon systems an imperative. Yes, it is “time to deliver” Directed Energy.
Industry leaders shared their thoughts on directed energy at the summit. Here are highlights of the summit from the media’s perspective.
A distinct military advantage goes to the first country to field lasers for the battlefield. As a complement to kinetic weapons, directed energy weapons can help defend against various emerging threats. Trey offers a 10-point plan to get the U.S. headed in the right direction.
Technology is advancing for directed energy laser weapons. There is an effort within the Missile Defense Agency to engineer laser weapons to attack intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) from the air. Concurrently, the Pentagon is in the early stages of “laser scaling” to burn through the metal of an ICBM. According to Trey Obering, executive vice president and directed energy lead at Booz Allen, “R&D (research and development) has shown that lasers have an application against cruise missiles and moving missiles.”
The Navy is in the process of integrating directed energy weapons onto their warships. The goal is to deploy a laser aboard a guided-missile destroyer, with a target date of 2021, according to Rear Admiral Boxall, the Navy’s director of surface warfare.
Power isn’t the biggest challenge today for getting laser weapons on ships. Integration is. According to Rear Admiral Ron Boxall, director of surface warfare (N96) on the Navy’s Pentagon staff, today’s problem is the “integration of that [laser] into my existing combat system.” He noted that integration of the weapons systems with the ship’s combat system is a problem few people are working on.