Senate Boosts Funding for Laser Weapons

The Senate has embraced last year’s Defense Science Board conclusion that directed-energy weapons — such as high-, medium- and low-power lasers — hold great potential and should be developed as soon as possible.

In the fiscal 2009 defense authorization bill, which was approved Wednesday, the Senate included additional funds for laser programs and a provision requiring Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to accelerate work that would make directed-energy weapons operational in the near future.

Low-power lasers known as “dazzlers” are being used in Iraq, mounted on M-4 rifles, “to warn or temporarily incapacitate individuals,” according to the Defense Science Board’s report. Army, Special Forces and more recently Marine units are using them to warn or deter drivers approaching checkpoints and to “defuse potential escalation of force incidents,” according to the report.

Read more at the Washington Post

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