Predator maker looks beyond Hellfire missiles to the weapons of the future.
Flying military robots armed with high-energy lasers? It’s a future that is exciting, terrifying — and perhaps just two years away.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., or GA–ASI, the San Diego-based company that makes the Predator and Reaper drones, is undertaking a privately funded study to integrate a 150-kilowatt solid-state laser onto its Avenger (née Predator-C) drone. If the company succeeds, a drone with a high-energy laser will be a reality at some point in 2017, company executives toldDefense One.
“We’re funded right now to develop a laser module compatible with the aircraft and study putting it on the Avenger,” Michael Perry, Vice President for Mission Systems at GA–ASI, toldDefense One. “We hope to be funded to do that,” he said.