US Special Operations Command is currently testing a laser weapon system and hopes to have “a layout of proof of concept” completed within “months to maybe a year,” Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, chief of Air Force Special Operations Command, told reporters at AWS17 on Thursday. He said the system is “SOCOM’s No. 1 unfunded priority” and that he remains “a strong supporter,” but the slow development of the program was understandable given the “scar tissue from programs from the past” that sought to develop directed energy weapons systems. He said the system in development is an “offensive capability” with “very different technology” from previous attempts. One purpose of the ongoing testing, Webb said, is to determine which aircraft would deploy the system, how it would be mounted, and whether current weapons would need to be eliminated from certain airframes to make room for it. Webb said the program is a “joint government and industry project” and that “there are massive supporters within our government of the program.”
Sept. 30, 2023
Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman delivered a keynote address on “The State of the Space Force,” detailing the young service’s progress and upcoming initiatives at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Sept. 11, 2023. Watch the video or read the transcript.