AFRL Roadmaps for Game Changing Hypersonic Vehicles, Directed Energy Weapons and Drones

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May 18, 2016 | Originally published by Date Line: May 18 on

Air Force Research Laboratory is working on key technologies in hypersonic air vehicles, directed-energy weapons and autonomy, or human-machine teaming, that will be “game-changers” Air Force Research Laboratory scientists and engineers have developed an unarmed “cruise missile-like vehicle” that reached five times the speed of sound in tests, and have explored pairing drones with combat fighters in latest realm of technological advances.

Pentagon futurists envision a third-offset strategy to leapfrog U.S. technological capabilities to stay ahead of Russia and China. Military planners have honed in on artificial intelligence and robotics, an arsenal plane filled with airborne weapons, undersea sub-hunting drones, swarming autonomous vehicles, electromagnetic rail guns and directed-energy weapons like lasers and microwave energy, among other breakthroughs.