No longer the stuff of science fiction, laser technology is progressing rapidly. Throughout the services, officials are banking on new directed energy weapon systems, which promise to offer the military precision strike at a low cost for both defensive and offensive missions.
At Special Operations Command, its program executive office for rotary wing is working alongside the Army’s program manager for Apache attack helicopters to test a directed energy weapon on an Apache this summer.
“There is absolutely a niche I believe for use of directed energy weapons,” said Col. John Vannoy, SOCOM’s program manager for rotary wing. “The lens we are looking at this through right now is: ‘Is it feasible to do this?’ We’re not at the point where we’ve laid out a business case to advance it.”