February 22, 2024

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Pentagon spends $1 billion yearly to develop ‘directed vitality’ weapons

3 min read

A report by the USA Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO) discovered that the US Division of Protection (DOD) spends round one billion {dollars} yearly to develop what is named “directed vitality” weapons. 

The weapons in query primarily hearth concentrated electromagnetic vitality or just referred to as lasers. Nevertheless, this navy know-how can also be one thing that the American taxpayers are actually paying not less than a billion {dollars} for. So that is how it’s getting used. 

Based on the report, the DOD has developed high-energy lasers which have “efficiently shot down drones in demonstrations.” The GAO who reportedly visited these defence services additionally discovered how the US navy is engaged on making laser weapons small and lightweight sufficient for use by one particular person. 

The Pentagon too is experimenting with high-powered microwave weapons which might probably penetrate stable objects and this know-how has a number of implications together with, disrupting the enemy’s energy supply, sensors and different electronics, mentioned the GAO. 

Equally, a Congressional Analysis Service (CRS), a non-partisan organisation which conducts analysis for lawmakers, in its evaluation, final 12 months, discovered that these high-energy lasers and microwave weapons may very well be helpful for short-range air defence, in opposition to drones in addition to to counter rocket, artillery and mortar hearth, reported CBS Information. 

The CRS additionally discovered that these lasers aren’t solely inexpensive but additionally extra environment friendly than typical weapons. 

In the meantime, the GAO famous how numerous branches of the US navy have already examined these highly effective lasers. Reportedly, the US Navy has examined them on drones and small boats whereas the Air Power has developed a laser which may be connected to its plane. 

“DOD has pursued these probably transformative applied sciences for many years as a result of they may present appreciable benefits,” said the GAO, in its report. It added, “They’ll ship harmful or disruptive results to targets on the velocity of sunshine and have probably vital benefits over kinetic weapons, corresponding to missiles, together with decrease per-use value.” 

Nevertheless, the GAO report finds that the departments have had problem “getting these applied sciences out of the lab and into the sphere for a number of causes” which embody figuring out tips on how to use them for various missions. Moreover, the DOD’s “efforts to transition prototypes to acquisition applications face challenges,” mentioned the federal government company. 

However this isn’t the one hurdle that these weapons face, as directed vitality weapons even have authorized and useful limitations, together with some laser methods being restricted below worldwide treaties. 

For instance, the United Nations has banned laser weapons particularly designed to trigger everlasting blindness, whereas earlier prototypes have reportedly been affected by atmospheric situations like rain or fog. 

Due to this fact, earlier than these “direct vitality” weapons may be put to precise use on missions, merely powering them stays a problem, to not point out the event of latest ways to deploy this novel weaponry. 

“As a novel know-how, (directed vitality) weapons require the event of latest ways, strategies and procedures — processes by which the warfighter is aware of how greatest to make use of a specific know-how in an operational atmosphere,” the GAO famous. 

 

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