Laser weapons for planes, ships, and other vehicles are being readied to deploy after decades of development.
Companies in the defense industry — including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon — are developing prototypes for the Pentagon, AFP reported.
Lockheed Martin recently announced that they will be working with the Army to test a 60-kilowatt laser weapon, according to the Washington Times.
Lockheed’s international business development director Jim Murdoch told reporters at a press conference this week that the new weapon can take out a drone 500 yards away by keeping its beam locked onto the target for a few seconds.
Breitbart News reported in January that the U.S. Navy announced that they will deploy laser weapons systems on its ships within the next two years.
The Navy has been testing a 30-kilowatt laser weapons system on the U.S.S. Ponce since 2014 and plans to test a 150-kilowatt weapon from a ship within a year.
These weapons that are in development focus laser beams onto a target, which then heat the inside of the target, such as an incoming mortar round moving at hundreds of miles per hour, and cause it to explode mid-air.
Engineers are currently working on shrinking the lasers so they can be integrated into combat planes, but they are running into physical limitations on how much portable power can be produced.
Industry representatives and military officials say that in order to develop these lasers on a widespread basis, they have to overcome the hurdle of securing government funding.
Congress is wary of funding this laser technology because of the amount of costs involved. For example, they scrapped a program in 2012 where a Boeing 747 was retrofitted with a laser gun to shoot down enemy targets that cost more than $5 billion.