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Army Seeks Cost-Effective Manufacturing, Maintenance for Directed Energy Weapons

Anti-air lasers

Army Seeks Cost-Effective Manufacturing, Maintenance for Directed Energy Weapons

Lt. Gen. Robert Rasch, director of the U.S. Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, said at a recent industry conference that the service is assessing how to make and sustain directed-energy weapons at a reasonable cost and how to use such systems in combat.

Rasch’s office is working with Kord Technologies to develop an anti-air directed-energy weapon for Stryker vehicles. It is planning to deliver four prototypes to a soldier platoon, which will craft tactics, techniques, and training practices and conduct an operational assessment before transitioning the capability to Program Executive Office Missiles and Space.

Meanwhile, Rasch’s office is looking to address affordability concerns by having vendors compete to supply components for directed-energy systems. He started a new prototyping round to learn what private-sector technologies are available.

Rasch added that his office is working on systems that can be maintained with line-replaceable units on the field instead of in a “clean room with scientists.”

Maj. Gen. Sean Gainey, head of the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office, noted that sustainability is the effort’s biggest obstacle, citing difficulties maintaining some laser weapon systems in the U.S. Africa Command’s area of operations, Defense News reported Saturday.

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Tags: Defense and Intelligence Defense News directed energy laser weapon Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office Robert Rasch US Army