The U.S. Army produced and tested its first combat-capable directed energy prototype after two years of development, creating what can potentially deter enemy rockets, artillery, mortars and drones.
The Army said Tuesday its Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) sent a laser-armed Stryker vehicle to Fort Sill in Oklahoma this summer for the Combat Shoot-Off exercise, which ended in late July.
“This is the first combat application of lasers for a maneuver element in the Army,” said Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, the Army's director for hypersonics, directed energy, space and rapid acquisition.
The Army subjected the vehicle to scenarios that simulated short-range air and missile defense (SHORAD). These scenarios were specifically designed to trial the SHORAD performance of directed energy weapons.
Thurgood said the tests aimed to demonstrate the technology's safety and targeting performance.
“It’s time to give our Soldiers this first-ever operational capability,” he said after stating that the technology's research and development phase has concluded.