Title

US Air Force Predicts Force Fields and Death Rays by 2060

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Systems Engineering

Publication Date

8-3-2021

Publication Title

Forbes

Document Type

Editorial

Abstract

Directed energy weapons conjure up images of the Death Star’s Superlaser or Optimus Prime’s Ion Blaster. Indeed, there are many examples of directed energy weapons across science fiction. In the real world, this class of weapons is fairly broad, incorporating any weapon that uses the electromagnetic spectrum. As such, most militaries have incorporated directed energy weapons into their arsenals. However, they are a far cry from the weapons imagined in science fiction.

Given the potential of directed energy weapons, the United States does not want to fall behind other countries, as happened with hypersonic weapons. Recently, the U.S. Air Force assembled a panel of experts to evaluate the future of these weapons, forecasting out to 2060, with their final report being released last month. The report predicts an important future for directed energy weapons, potentially including both space-based weapon systems and “force fields.”

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