The U.S. military is preparing to employ a new class of weapons.
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The future of warfare has arrived: airplane-mounted laser weapons. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that the 150-kilowatt lasers would be 10 times smaller and lighter than existing lasers that fire comparably powerful beams– small and light enough to be mounted on fighter jets.
The main purpose of the laser weapons, part of DARPA’s High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System, would be defensive: to knock out surface-to-air-missiles, rockets, and other weapons that threaten aircraft as the fly over hostile territory. But the weapons could also be used as a sort of offensive precision tool, disabling power stations or weapons deposits with fewer civilian casualties.