US Navy to fund development of vehicle-mounted, drone-shooting lasers

Lasers, particularly those that set boats ablaze and incinerate incoming missiles, have long been on the Navy's mind. Today, the Office of Naval Research revealed its latest energy weapon craving: vehicle-mounted lasers that shoot down drones. Dubbed Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-The-Move, the project is offering private outfits up to $400,000 each to develop such a system that blasts at full power for 120 seconds and juices back up to 80 percent after a 20 minute charge. The beam is required to pack a punch of at least 25 kilowatts, while the ability to ratchet up to 50 kilowatts is optional. Given that kind of power, Wired points out that making such a solution fit in a Humvee is going to be a feat -- especially when the Navy says it can't weigh more than 2,000 pounds and must fit entirely within a vehicle's cargo area. Have blueprints for a jeep-mountable laser squirreled away in your basement hobby shop? You'll have to send your application in by 2 PM on April 26th to qualify for the federal cash.

[Image credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery, Flickr]

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US Navy to fund development of vehicle-mounted, drone-shooting lasers