Congress is expected to approve a $120 million infusion into the military’s most ambitious battlefield laser to date, a highly destructive weapon that would be installed on AC-130 gunships operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command.
This would be the most powerful electric laser weapon in the U.S. military inventory and, if successful, could lead the way for more such systems that are now in various stages of development, analysts and defense officials said.
Much of the underlying technology needed to build laser weapons is coming to fruition. But there are still deep internal disagreements across the Defense Department on how far and how fast these projects should move. Pentagon technologists and weapon buyers are nowhere close to deciding how they should go about building prototypes, testing them and securing funding for “programs of record.”