US Deploys Anti-Drone Lasers In Middle East To Field Test Prototypes

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Mar 06, 2024 - 12:00 AM

Via The Libertarian Institute,

The Department of Defense has deployed four laser systems designed to intercept drones and rockets in the Middle East. The Pentagon has been developing a laser-style interceptor to reduce the cost of shooting down UAVs and rockets

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James Mingus announced the new deployment of Directed Energy Maneuver Short Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD) prototypes to the Middle East. The Army developed the weapons system in coordination with RTX, formerly Raytheon. The former employer of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, RTX, has received over $100 million to develop the platform. 

Directed Energy Maneuver Short Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD)

DE M-SHORAD, according to RTX, is a 50-kilowatt vehicle-mounted laser designed to intercept drones, missiles, and rockets at short range.

RTX and the Pentagon believe laser systems will be a cheaper alternative for downing cheap drones and rockets. The four interceptors deployed to the Middle East are mounted on Stryker armored vehicles.

The 2024 Pentagon funding bill authorized nearly $700 million in spending on the development and procurement of DE M-SHORAD systems. 

American soldiers occupying Iraq and Syria have come under rocket and drone attack over 150 times in the past five months. The strikes come in response to Israel’s onslaught in Gaza, with Shia militia groups taking responsibility for some of the attacks.

After a drone killed three American soldiers in Jordan, President Joe Biden ordered a massive round of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Dozens were killed, including some civilians. 

The Pentagon believes the Middle East is a good environment to test DE M-SHORAD as it will present unique challenges.

"Our high-energy lasers are so susceptible to weather. That’s why I think this is going to be a great laboratory because anytime there’s a dust storm, anytime there’s that kind of thing, it starts to alter the physics of the light particles that actually shoot that beam," Mingus explained.