Pentagon wants more money for directed-energy weapons for drone-swarm and missile defense

The U.S. military will request more money to develop lasers, microwave beams, and other directed-energy weapons to fight off missiles and drone swarms, the Pentagon’s top weapons engineer says. Defense One reports.

"You’re going to see, in upcoming budgets for missile defense, a renewed emphasis on laser scaling [meaning scaling up the power of laser weapons] across several technologies,” says Michael Griffin, defense undersecretary for research and engineering.

“In my opinion, we are no more than a few years away from having laser weapons of military utility,” Griffin says. “In units of ones or twos, we can roll out tens of kilowatts. That is within a factor of two or three of being useful on a battlefield, airplane or ship” to take out enemy drone swarms, Griffin says. A space-based weapon that could destroy boost-phase missiles would require power in the megawatt class.

One big question remains: whether missile-defense satellites will make it into the Missile Defense Review, the Trump administration’s plan for next-generation missiles and missile defense. “It will be shared when the administration is ready to share it,” Griffin says.