THE FUTURE OF LASER WEAPONS
In April of 2014, the Navy deployed the first ever laser weapon system (LaWS) aboard the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf. The laser canon fires a 30-kilowatt infrared directed beam at a precise part of its target (e.g., engine), disabling the vehicle. Although laser guided munitions cost thousands of dollars for even the smallest weapon, a single laser shot from the LaWS costs about $1. The potential for laser weapon systems is great, bringing to mind science fiction based particle beams, albeit particle beams of that kind are yet to be developed.
The Navy presently regards LaWSas an effective system for dealing with low level threats, such as small boats, small planes, and drones of various kinds. With the equivalent of a joy stick, the controller within the Ponce can point a curser at a video image of the incoming threat, aiming precisely at a mechanical part or missile guidance system, and deliver a directed beam that obliterates the part or system. In this way, LaWS can disable the threat long before it reaches the Ponce.
As these systems are perfected and enabled with far greater kilowatt power, directed energy will be available for use against heavy armament, large aircraft, command control and communication systems, and individual soldiers and units. One can readily imagine a satellite mounted LaWS, beaming down directed energy at individual enemy targets, disabling communications, obliterating weapon systems, and destroying weapons and machines of war. Use of such weapons would reduce reliance on drones, causing the enemy to have no target reachable with its weapons, let alone have usable weapons.
We can perceive a future in which directed energy beams would be common and where reliance on heavy armament and air power would be lessened considerably. For now, at least, the United States has the technological advantage, but within the not so distant future we can expect our enemies the Chinese and the Russians to deploy comparable weapon systems. Our advantage need not be neutralized by such developments, so long as we remain technologically superior in our advances and in our exploitation of strategic advantages.
As against terrorists, however, the advantage of directed energy beams is likely to be a real one for a considerable length of time, because the cost of the systems combined with the extraordinary amount of technical acumen required to develop them and deploy them exceeds the means of non-state sponsored terrorists and likely will for some time.
Within the years to come, we are likely to see greater deployment of these systems by the United States military and use of them in tandem with drones as part of the arsenal employed against terrorists around the globe. Doing so will reduce the risk to American lives while maximizing the elimination of America’s enemies. With a new administration more friendly to the United States military than the present one, we are likely to see the ultimate deployment of LaWS systems for strategic missile defenses, enabling the United States to shield itself from incoming ICBMs and enabling our allies, like Israel, to use them effectively as a complement to or a replacement for Iron Dome defenses.
A new administration sincerely committed to protect and advance America’s interests in the world would have U.S. led forces deploy such defenses throughout NATO and SEATO, shifting the balance of power back in favor of our side. Such defenses would render Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and North Korean threats more anemic and would provide a shield of protection for the development of stable markets.
As with all new and potentially revolutionary weapons systems, the advantage offered by them is entirely dependent on the savvy of those in power. The present administration has squandered international opportunity after international opportunity and has sent so many mixed messages to the international community that little remains in foreign confidence in the United States as a bastion of defense for freedom around the world. Rebuilding the nation after this administration will require intelligent development and integration of the new weapon systems into America’s defenses with an eye toward disabling the threats emerging from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
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© 2014 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved
Jonathan W. Emord is an attorney who practices constitutional and administrative law before the federal courts and agencies. Ron Paul calls Jonathan “a hero of the health freedom revolution” and says “all freedom-loving Americans are in [his] debt . . . for his courtroom [victories] on behalf of health freedom.” He has defeated the FDA in federal court a remarkable eight times, seven on First Amendment grounds, and is the author of the Amazon bestsellers The Rise of Tyranny, Global Censorship of Health Information, and Restore the Republic. He is the American Justice columnist for U.S.A. Today Magazine and joins Robert Scott Bell weekly for “Jonathan Emord’s Sacred Fire of Liberty,” an hour long radio program on government threats to individual liberty. For more info visit Emord.com, join the Emord FDA/FTC Law Group on Linkedin, and follow Jonathan on twitter (@jonathanwemord).
My father was a boxing coach for the United States Air Force. In the
1960’s the Air Force toyed with the idea of replacing boxing in
basic training with karate and jujitsu. My father opposed that move
but believed the military brass needed a demonstration to prove the
superiority of boxing to martial arts.