‘We see the technology evolving and maturing to the stage where it really can be used.’
The military hopes that the new generation of weapons could lead to radical changes in the way wars are fought, with planes having unlimited ammunition – as long as they have enough power.
‘You could have an unlimited magazine … loitering aircraft that could address and access a wide variety of targets, Hammett said.
‘I believe we’ll have a directed energy pod we can put on a fighter plane very soon,’ Air Force General Hawk Carlisle has claimed at the Air Force Association Air & Space conference in a presentation on what he called Fifth-Generation Warfare, according to Ars Technica.
‘That day is a lot closer than I think a lot of people think it is.’
The US Navy has already deployed a laser weapon at sea aboard the USS Ponce, capable of a range of attacks against small boats, drones, and light aircraft posing a threat, by blinding sensors or operators or heating elements to make them fail or explode.
Other laser weapons are also being tested by the Office of Naval Research for use on helicopters to protect against man-portable anti aircraft missiles.