USAF 704th Test Group Performing New Directed Energy Experiments

The Directed Energy Combined Test Force of the U.S. Air Force's 704th Test Group plans to conduct experiments intending to inform the branch on the use and development of DE technologies. The plans support the Directed Energy Experimentation Campaign and follow the effort's first experiment that concluded in October 2018 at White Sands Missile Range, USAF said Tuesday.

The 704th TG Directed Energy Combined Task Force, operating at Kirtland Air Force Base, will continue the campaign under orders from the Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office. The task force, a unit of Arnold AFB's engineering development complex, is part of the service branch's plan to transition directed energy weapons to airmen.

John Cao, director of the DE CTF, said the effort's initial experiment aimed to understand capacities and limitations of existing high power microwave and high energy laser systems. He added that the experiment demonstrated DE weapons' capacity to address threats, but transitioning the technology would be a different matter.

"We must also understand concept of operations, tactics, techniques and procedures along with the potential implications to doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities and policy," he said.

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