>> Trey Obering:
The impact of Directed Energy on modern day warfare can be very dramatic. It is a very disruptive technology. And so the country that can develop and field these capabilities first will have a distinct advantage on the battlefield.
Imagine if you are the commander on a U.S. Navy ship in international waters and you are being taunted by swarms of boats that are coming at you, to try to get you to escalate the conflict. Imagine again if you could flip a switch and stop those boats in their tracks without them being able to come any closer, with nobody getting hurt. That type of scenario is where Directed Energy can be a gamechanger.
Directed Energy is the use of electromagnetic energy such as high energy lasers, high powered microwave devices, and laser satcom communications terminals. Directed Energy has two primary applications. The first one is a very, very high intensity beam of light that has the ability to identify a target at a very, very long distance. Or if necessary, to destroy that target at a very long distance.
Another application is a very high intense beam of radio frequency that can be applied to a target to disable that target-to either disrupt the electronics, or cause damage in another fashion.
One might imagine that Directed Energy is a relatively recent development in warfighting, when in fact it goes back to Archimedes' time. It is reported that Archimedes used mirrors to direct rays from the sun at approaching enemy ships to try and set their sails on fire. But today, we’ve gotten to the point where these weapons are becoming real, and they have real applications in the 21st century, and it really is time for us to start getting these weapons in the hands of the warfighters.
The attributes of Directed Energy weapons that make them so attractive is, number one, they operate at the speed of light. Number two, they have very low cost per shot. Number three, they typically have very large magazines, almost unlimited magazines. And number four, they have stealth-like characteristics, they are hard to detect, and very hard to intercept. And number five, they can be dialed from both lethal to non-lethal.
So today, if you look at almost every program in the department, when you are talking about ground-based lasers or vehicle-based lasers or potentially airborne-based lasers, they are limited not by technology advances, but by the funding that is allocated to support them. Today, we are technology rich and funding poor which is why it is such an imperative for Congress to fund these types of efforts, and get these weapons into the hands of the warfighter so that we can be prepared to fight the battlefield of the future.
And I think that is what really excited me. Is being able to make an impact, to have an impact on the future of warfare. And to do that in a manner that makes me very proud of being part of the entire effort.