Flying military robots armed with high-energy lasers? It’s a future that is exciting, terrifying — and perhaps just two years away.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., or GA-ASI, the San Diego-based company that makes the Predator and Reaper drones, is undertaking a privately funded study to integrate a 150-kilowatt solid-state laser onto its Avenger (née Predator-C) drone. If the company succeeds, a drone with a high-energy laser will be a reality at some point in 2017, company executives told Defense One.
“We’re funded right now to develop a laser module compatible with the aircraft and study putting it on the Avenger,” Michael Perry, Vice President for Mission Systems at GA-ASI, told Defense One. “We hope to be funded to do that,” he said.