Analysts suggest the U.S. should focus on developing directed energy weapons to counter future assaults on U.S. military’s freedom of movement, Defense News reports.
The Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments issued a report Thursday suggesting the U.S. would benefit from using alternately-powered weapons to respond to precision-guided cruise and ballistic missiles from state and non-state groups.
Report researchers Mark Gunzinger and Chris Dougherty suggested the weapons, which would use concentrated electromagnetic energy, could provide the U.S. unlimited methods to counter incoming missiles.
The authors note that previous program failures and the budget environment are factors contributing to the government not pursuing research and development for directed energy capabilities.
According to the report, the systems would help counter threats such as Iran’s watercraft swarm tactic with less collateral damage.
The kinetic defense method could also be useful in urban settings, the report said.
The report said it will be possible to mature laser technologies to create a defense base against aircraft and rocket fire in the next 10 years.
In two decades, the technology should be capable of integration with directed energy weapons on small aircraft, ships and tactical ground vehicles.
The authors suggest the Army and Air Force should start leveraging laser technologies to develop deployable DE defense systems for countering air and missile threats in the Western Pacific region and Southwest Asia, areas the military is set to reposition some forces to.
The Air Force and Navy should lead high-power microwave technology development for manned and unmanned aircraft as well as cruise missiles and ground vehicles, the report suggests.
The report authors want the Marine Corps to be the Defense Department’s executive agent for non-lethal weapons.
In this capacity, the branch will transition non-lethal DE concepts to programs of records from the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate..
The government should additionally keep better records and capture data of its DE weapons’ lethality against boats, vehicles, UAVs and missiles.
The environmental impacts should also be experimented with for both maritime and ground battlefield application, the authors said.