The Marine Corps has begun field testing a laser weapon that can be mounted on a Humvee to shoot down low-flying aircraft such as enemy drones, Raytheon announced Wednesday.”Raytheon is paving the way for fielded directed energy weapon systems in the very near future with the demonstration of a Marine Humvee-based high energy laser,” Bill Hart, vice president of Raytheon Space Systems said in the statement.
The weapon is known as the Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-the-Move Program, or GBAD for short, which would allow the Marine Corps to target low-lying threats while mobile.
“We can expect that our adversaries will increasingly use [unmanned aerial vehicles] and our expeditionary forces must deal with that rising threat,” Col. William Zamagni, acting head of the Office of Naval Research’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department, said in a statement. “GBAD gives the Marine Corps a capability to counter the UAV threat efficiently, sustainably and organically with austere expeditionary forces
ONR hopes to research, develop, design, and deliver the laser weapon in five years.
The Marine Corps current testing follows the Navy’s recent acquisition of the Laser Weapons System, which provides “improved protection against swarming small boats and unmanned aircraft at a fraction of the cost of traditional weapons,” according to the Navy.
“We expect that in the future, a missile will not be able to simply outmaneuver a highly accurate, high-energy laser beam traveling at the speed of light,” Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder said on the Navy’s official web page.
The following video demonstrates the Navy’s current system that the Marines are hoping to adapt to their defensive capabilities: