Laser weapons could defeat threats like drone swarms, rockets and artillery

April 1, 2019

Why use laser weapons instead of bullets, shells, or missiles? To begin with, lasers are accurate and quick acting, since they are fast as light and mostly unaffected by gravity? This could make weapons ideal for swatting down small, speedy targets, such as incoming rockets and artillery shells. Laser precision also could be handy for disabling ground or sea vehicles without killing their occupants. Of course, a soundless, invisible and recoilless weapon is also pretty stealthy — if you can get close enough to use it. Most importantly, lasers could be very cheap. Contemporary missile-defense systems, such as Israel’s Iron Dome or the U.S. GMD antiballistic missile system, are much more expensive than the missiles they are designed to shoot down, making them untenable were they to face mass attacks. The same problem exists at the tactical level when considering how to counter the future threat of weaponized drone swarms: basically large flocks of small, expendable drones designed to overwhelm enemy defenses. For systems hooked up to a power generator, the ammunition supply could be virtually unlimited.

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