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Defense and Intelligence

MDA Authorized to Work on Laser Technologies for Missile Applications

Directed energy

MDA Authorized to Work on Laser Technologies for Missile Applications

The Missile Defense Agency has received the go signal from Congress to develop laser technologies that will be used in ballistic and hypersonic missiles. The congressional authority is part of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by Congress.

According to the 2022 NDAA, the secretary of the Department of Defense will task the MDA director to manage and allocate a budget for laser technology research. The MDA chief will also manage directed energy programs that can be used for missiles and will work with other directed energy efforts across the DOD.

Tom Karako, a missile defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Defense News that Congress wants to make sure that technology and research efforts flow into missile defense-relevant programs. Riki Ellison, the chief of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, shared that the NDAA provision restores funding and responsibility that the MDA previously had to handle directed energy technology programs, Defense News reported.

Congress also authorized additional funding worth around $100 million for directed energy research and development. The amount includes $50 million for an improved beam control for high-energy laser research and $20 million for a short-pulse laser directed energy demonstration.

Military services have made strides in the field of laser technologies. The Army was able to demonstrate a 50-kW laser designed for short-range air defense. The system was designed by Raytheon Technologies and will be integrated into four Stryker vehicles by General Dynamics Land Systems. The U.S. Air Force, meanwhile, worked with Lockheed Martin to integrate the Airborne High Energy Laser onto the service’s AC-130J Ghostrider gunship.

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Category: Defense and Intelligence

Tags: Congress Defense and Intelligence Defense News laser technology Missile Defense Agency National Defense Authorization Act Riki Ellison Tom Karako