Marines get laser weapon to fight enemy drones

National Interests:
Wow

Brace yourselves: Marine grunts now have their hands on a drone-killing laser cannon.

Marines are currently evaluating a Compact Laser Weapons System (CLaWS) as "the first ground-based laser approved by the Department of Defense for use by warfighters on the ground," Marine Corps Systems Command announced on Wednesday.

Unlike the Army's vehicle-mounted directed energy system, the CLaWS is "not intended to be a standalone system," according to MARCORSYSCOM, but the prototype will "serve as a component to an overall system" designed for counter-drone operations downrange.

"This was all in response to a need for counter unmanned aerial systems to take down drones," Ground Based Air Defense (GBAD) program manager Don Kelley said in the MARCORSYSCOM release. "We're providing CLaWS to Marines as a rapid prototype for evaluation ... Depending on the results, CLaWS could become part of a larger capability set."
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The system came together pretty quickly by military standards.  It took about a year to develop and produce the prototype.  The military sees an urgent need to deal with enemy drones many of which they are already seeing in the Middle East fight with terrorists.

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