Just in time, directed energy (DE) weapons are coming to the battlefield. As the conflict in Ukraine demonstrates, a revolution in offensive air capabilities is in the offing, driven largely by advances in unmanned aerial systems (UASs), or drones. This has resulted in an urgent need for improved air defenses, particularly to defeat increasingly sophisticated drones. Fortunately, decades of experimentation and development have borne fruit at the right moment. Raytheon has shown that it can package DE systems and associated power generation capabilities in a way that allows them to be deployed on tactical combat vehicles such as the Stryker. Just as importantly, the company has enhanced the potential of light-speed weapons with new battlefield sensors, power packs, and automated command and control systems. I have written more about this here.
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