US Marines and Army Want Laser Armed Humvees

Laser weapons spread from ocean to land as the US Marines and Army request greater drone protection.

Army, Navy, Marines, Laser, Humvee, weapone, drone, UAVWith the US Navy already well on its way to having ship-based laser weapons the Marine Corp and Army refuse to settle for anything less and are requesting that future Humvees be armed with similar weapon systems.

While it might seem like the US military branches are conducting their own interdepartmental arms race, the need for laser weapons is quite practical. Though the US is by far the most active agent when it comes to the use of UAVs on the battlefield, a host of other countries have mature drone systems or are currently developing UAVs.

In order to protect ground forces from these threats the land-based services are look for a compact, powerful laser capable of neutralizing autonomous threats. Conceived as a 180kg, 30 to 50-kilowatt system, the new portable laser would be powered by high energy density batteries and its parent vehicle’s power plant. In addition to those characteristics, the military would like to have a weapon that can fire at maximum power for at least two minutes and has a recharge time around 20 minutes.

According to Brigadier General Kevin Killea, Vice Chief of Research at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, they’ll be more than capable of meeting their goals. “We’re confident we can bring together all of these pieces in a package that’s small enough to be carried on light tactical vehicles and powerful enough to counter these threats.”

Though the project is still in development, all parties believe that a test model will be ready sometime in 2016. If everything goes according to plan laser weapons could be mounted on air, land and sea vehicles, fortifying US defenses from both autonomous and traditional threats.

Image Courtesy of the ONR