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MDA Eyes Laser-Armed Drones to Revive Airborne Laser Program

ReaperThe Missile Defense Agency is planning to revive its airborne laser program using an unmanned aircraft armed with an electric-powered laser to counter ballistic missile threats, Breaking Defense reported Monday.

Sydney Freedberg Jr. writes that the future program will seek to address the continued challenge of engaging the missile target in the boost phase without exposing the drone to enemy fire.

MDA Director Vice Adm. James Syring said at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium that the program will follow an incremental and knowledge-based approach compared to its original iteration, Freedberg reports.

The report said MDA has been conducting experiments with General AtomicsReaper and Boeing‘s Phantom Eye and will continue to a review of other alternatives through 2019 before the agency flies a low-power laser demonstrator around 2021.

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