Like one of those James Bond villains that just won’t die, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s missile hunting laser weapon is once again battling its way back from the boneyard thanks to the “emerging” missile threat on the Korean peninsula. The House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces panel is asking for roughly $75 million in next year’s Pentagon budget to keep the Airborne Laser program intact just in case North Korea turns out to have an intercontinental ballistic missile that works.
Inmates bringing the ruckus at Pitchess Detention Center in California will find that deputies there can bring the pain. Working as the test-bed for a National Institute of Justice experiment, the prison is testing Raytheon's Assault Intervention Device, a seven-and-a-half-foot-tall device that focuses an invisible energy ray on misbehaving inmates, causing a serious heating sensation that should bring said bad behavior to a halt.
Raytheon revealed its next-gen directed energy weapon at the Farnborough Air Show today, releasing video showing its Laser Weapons System (LaWS) -- a six-laser weapon that focuses on a single target -- engaging and then destroying an unmanned aerial vehicle from the deck of a Navy vessel at sea.
Directed energy weapons -- the laser weapons of the future -- have shown promise in both their power and their precision. But there are some serious technological challenges involved in weaponizing devices like powerful chemical lasers, not least of which is dealing with the vast amounts of waste heat they generate. General Atomics recently tested a wax-fueled storage device that might just overcome that hurdle, opening the door to the next generation of energy weapons.
It turns out the Air Force's next-gen bomber really isn't much of a bomber at all. While the next iteration of stealth bombers is still but a sketch on the drawing board, the DoD and top Air Force command know what the wars of the next century will call for: intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), as well as the ability to deploy non-kinetic weapons to disrupt enemy operations, all while reserving the ability to drop the occasional ordinance -- and do it all at the same time with a single, stealthy super-weapon.