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The US Missile Defense Agency has got the green light to develop laser technology for missile defense applications. Congress is giving the MDA the authority to research and develop laser technology to use in ballistic and hypersonic missile defense applications. According to the recently passed fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, the secretary of defense is required to delegate to the MDA director the authority to “budget for, direct and manage directed energy programs applicable for ballistic and hypersonic missile defense mission in coordination with other directed energy efforts of the Department of Defense.”
Early research and development of technologies and managing the transition of technologies to the industry is defined as first priority.
According to defensenews.com, in addition to giving MDA the authority to pursue directed energy programs in the FY22 NDAA, Congress also authorized an additional roughly $100 million in directed-energy research and development funding. It includes $50 million to work on improved beam control for high-energy laser research and another $20 million for a short-pulse laser-directed energy demonstration.
The US Military has made strides in the field of laser technologies. It demonstrated a 50-kW laser designed for short-range air defense. Designed by Raytheon Technologies, the system will be integrated into four Stryker vehicles by General Dynamics Land Systems. The Air Force, meanwhile, worked with Lockheed Martin to integrate the Airborne High Energy Laser onto the service’s AC-130J Ghostrider gunship.
Learn more about military technologies in air and missile defense: attend IAMD – Israel Air and Missile Defense conference and exhibition on March 8, 2022, at Expo Tel Aviv.