Lasers have long been the purview of most violent-prone children who delight in pointing their fingers at strangers while cooing “pew-pew” in an effort to mimic the imaginary sound lasers make when fired. Well, their dreams may soon come true.
Although the US Navy has been working on developing laser mounted systems for quite some time, they recently announced progress with their glibly-named ‘Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-the-Move’ concept, or GBAD for short.
As more nations around the world incorporate drone technology into their armed forces, the US Defense Department is increasingly concerned about losing their military advantage when it comes to obliterating foreign targets “suspected” of harboring terrorists. In an effort to combat the proliferation of enemy UAVs, GBAD is designed to give US marines the ability to zap these fuckers right out of the air.
How the US Navy’s GBAD system works
GBAD consists of three stationary (and eventually moving) vehicles each equipped with systems that work in unison to identify, target and destroy approaching enemy drones. According to BoldRide, “the primary vehicle totes the 30kW laser, along with power management and storage systems. The second vehicle features a 360-degree search radar for detection and tracking, and the final vehicle operates as the system’s command center.”
Check out ONR’s (Office of Naval Research) official video explaining the process:
The US Navy has a plan to roll-out GBAD in three distinct phases. First, GBAD will be tested as a stationary system capable of firing a laser at 10kW by the end of this year. In 2016, ONR hopes to test a 30kW laser that can engage multiple targets while on the move, but only once. And finally, the US Navy will have a perfected mobile system that can hit multiple targets in continuous and successive engagement sometime in 2017.
Of course, it’ll only be a matter of time before our “enemies” also have their own laser-mounted vehicles. Sigh.