Focusing Like a Laser Beam On Directed Energy

Focusing Like a Laser Beam On Directed Energy image
July 10, 2015 | Source: War On The Rocks

While there is clear merit in competitive, concurrent developments, the modest resources in play are arguably not sufficient to effectively underwrite the many air, sea, and ground-based developments currently underway. To increase the prospects that it will be able to successfully field a comparatively small set of systems within the next several years, the Department of Defense must either allocate additional resources or make some hard programmatic choices. For instance, while tactical needs may vary, it is not intuitive why the Marine Corps and Army maintain separate ground-based high energy laser programs. And it is possible that related activities, such as key Air Force, DARPA, and/or Missile Defense Agency-sponsored solid-state and combined-fiber laser undertakings, could be re-packaged for at least some ground-based mission applications. Similarly, the Department of Defense may be able to benefit from relevant developments in the U.S. industrial base or from companies in Israel, Germany, and other allied or friendly states. But absent a strong and sustained demand signal, U.S. innovation in this area will lag, products will likely take longer to deliver and cost more for lesser performance than desired, and U.S. forces could ultimately find themselves at battlefield or strategic disadvantage.