Of course, lasers themselves are not a new technology. Lasers have been studied and tested for military use for decades. Recently, companies such as Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon have taken this existing technology, scaled it down, and adapted it for a variety of platforms with a new purpose: to shoot down weaponized drones and small munitions. This new mission set for the tactical laser offers the military a drone-killing weapon system that could keep the U.S. ahead of the power curve on the modern battlefield, especially in the fight against non-state actors and armies increasingly using drones for combat operations.
Directed-energy weapons could take armed aircraft to a new frontier in the capabilities they provide the joint force. Anti-personnel aerial lasers, specifically, have advantages making them superior to other accurate weapons because of their speed, greater accuracy, and maneuverability. If integrated into close air support and interdiction missions, directed-energy weapons would greatly enhance the operational effectiveness in each.