The United States Army is looking for ways to defend against
missile and mortar attacks. In this book, the National Research
Council assesses a plan to create a 100 kW mobile, solid-state,
laser weapon that could defend an area several kilometers in
diameter. The NRC provides several recommendations:
A 100 kW Laser is of limited value, so the program's goal should
be a 400 kW weapon. The Army should proceed with the program in
stages, focusing first on a rugged transportable platform for the
weapon using existing 25 kW laser technology, then directing
resources toward 100kW and 400 kW weapons. The Army should perform
a detailed, quantitative study of the effectiveness of a high
energy, solid-state laser weapon against future threats. The Army
should continue to participate in U.S.-based and international
research on high-energy lasers and related equipment. The committee
found substantial benefits for the Army's solid-state laser program
from other programs outside the Army. The Army should conduct
risk-assessments that investigate the effects that a high energy
laser may have on other airborne platforms in the vicinity of the
target. The Army should study eye safety for both the operators of
the laser and for civilians. The results of these studies should be
integrated into the development of the weapon.
National Academies Press
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