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Warfighters need to know that the weapons at their disposal are going to function as expected, when needed. As newer and more advanced kinetic and non-kinetic weapons are introduced into the warfighter’s repertoire, there’s a pressing need to understand how and when those weapons should be used to greatest effect.
Which brings us to the question: are high-energy lasers (HELs) only “fair-weather” weapons?
“It's worth noting that while we advance the use of high-energy lasers in multiple atmospheric conditions, they can also serve another important function--improving situational awareness.”
HELs can cause physical damage to targets like small boats, munitions, or drones from the ground or from the air. Because lasers allow for pinpoint accuracy in targeting, they can greatly limit collateral damage. And since the energy travels at the speed of light, a target cannot evade an accurately aimed HEL beam. Moreover, it can be difficult to detect. But for an HEL to work properly, it must hit the target with accuracy and the desired amount of energy. But what if there’s less than ideal weather? How does that affect the functioning of an HEL?
Warfighters need to know that the weapons at their disposal will function when needed. This is a key issue for decision-makers considering deployment of directed energy weapons. Explore this highly complex subject in this technical paper.