|The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, one of the Army's newest development projects, has used directed energy technology to take down mortars and drones in tests. Photo via Army.|
|The Emblem of the White Sands Missile Range, via the White Sands Missile Range.|
The HEL MD joins its sibling technology, the LCS-mounted LaWS, and its less-directly-related HPRF cousin, as yet another major development in anti-unmanned systems technology. While all of these technologies can be used to disable explosive devices, the common link between them is that they have all been tested against and specifically reported as being effective against drones and other unmanned systems. The High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility (HELSTF) in the White Sands Missile Range is working on even more powerful directed-energy weaponry, and claims to have the most powerful laser "in the Western Hemisphere" called the MIRACL (Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser). In fact, HELSTF claims that most of its 'demonstration' devices such as the HEL MD are designed for missions that "do not need the full power of the MIRACL." Surely we will see lasers continue to become more and more powerful, and it seems we will continue to see an increasing demand for counter-drone technology.