Moving into the future: Army shows off drone destroying mobile laser system
The future is now- at least when it comes to laser weapons on the battlefield.
A prototype of a new high-energy laser platform was revealed at the Army’s Space & Missile Defense Center in Alabama last month, giving a glimpse of the future.
The Stryker-mounted Mobile Experimental High Energy Laser (MEHEL) will be able to shoot down drones and other aerial threats with it’s a fearsome weapon, which was able to punch holes through an AK rifle and thick steel plating.
Already credited with 69 drone kills in testing done from 2016 to present, the MEHEL is quite formidable and will be able to smack down enemy artillery, drones, missiles, and other threats.
According to AL.com, one curiously amusing component of the laser system is the Xbox-like controller, which developers claim was due in part to input by Millennial troops. Initially fitted with a joystick, the developers soon learned that younger troops were more adept with console controllers. After installing the new controller, troops were downing targets in short order.
“With five minutes of training, they can shoot down relevant targets fairly easily,” lead developer Dr. Richard Yaw said.
The new system is also much cheaper than missiles, with each potential kill costing around $30.
While the current model only used a 10kw high-energy laser, the next model will be a 50kw variant.
Either way, Yaw knows the best thing the Army can do is let the troops decide if it’s a good system or not.
“If all goes well, Army leadership would take the next step and field a few copies of it in soldier units somewhere and let them play with it,” Yaw said.
The vehicle was displayed during the Association of the U.S. Army Global Defense Symposium in Huntsville this week.
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