Friday, April 15, 2016

US Missile Defense Agency Wants a Laser Weapon for Missile Defense by 2021

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) hopes in 2021 to have developed and demonstrated an aerial laser with which it could intercept and destroy ballistic missiles.

Specifically, the agency wants "a low-power laser, in the 100-kW range, to prove the coherency and physics part" of destroying a ballistic missile from an unmanned airborne platform, MDA director Vice Admiral James Syring told the Senate on 13 April.

He said MDA wants to field a prototype to help gage if there is a feasible material solution, and explained that the effort would not be on the same large scale as the manned Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser Testbed (also known as the Airborne Laser: ABL), a multibillion development effort that was ultimately cancelled in 2009 after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates found the technology and operating concept unworkable.

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