This Company Is Building Drones With Lasers On Top so watch video as to what it does

Say hello to the drones of the future. They’re gorgeous, sophisticated, and they’ve got high-energy lasers.

The body of the drone will look familiar to those who are familiar with current drones as those lasers will be riding shotgun–quite literally–on General Atomics Aeronautical Systems‘s Avenger.  The company, also responsible for the Reaper, is embarking on a privately-funded study to figure out how to incorporate 150-kilowatt solid-state laser onto the drone, according to an interview with Defenseone. Depending on the success of the study, the company is hoping to have the laser drones up and running by 2017.

Basically, the funding for this program is enough to figure out if it’s possible, and if so, how to create a laser that’s compatible with the Avenger.

predator c drone image

The video is from the U.S. Navy Research and features the Office of Naval Research-sponsored Laser Weapon System on the USS Ponce. The laser is capable of hitting small targets and doing some serious damage to a boat. It’s also shown taking down a drone.

The proposed laser is five times more powerful than the laser on the USS Ponce with a increase in beam quality.

If the company–or one of its competitors–is capable of shrinking the technology and designing an accurate targeting system, lasers on drones could be the weapon of the future.

The Avenger (General Atomics Aeronautical)

Recently, the company sent a 150-kilowatt liquid laser to be tested by the Pentagon at the White Sands Missile Range, but they’ve been working on high-energy lasers for the past 15 years. While that puts them at a bit of an advantage, lasers tend to be a really challenging weapon on their own, let alone flying on a drone in a harsh environment with dust and sand. It’s difficult to zero in on a target with a laser, which presents a major challenge for engineers.

Plus, a laser that size is heavy and requires quite a bit of power. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has designed a system that uses the aircraft power to charge the intermediate storage system, which then runs the laser. It can get off five or six shots at a time before it needs to be recharged, but it really depends on how much time is passing between uses, according to the company. The company has an advantage because they’re also designing the ground control systems, so they know they’ll work with the lasers.

If it proves to be a viable weapon, a 150-kilowatt high-energy laser could do some serious damage.

After all, look at what a 30- kW laser is capable of:


Henry Sapiecha

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