The Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security’s annual US and Global Missile Defense Conference was featured by Breaking Defense, highlighting the real-world limits when using lasers in missile defense:

Ronald Reagan’s dream of lasers that can shoot down incoming missiles is about to become reality — to an extent. The Navy will deploy a low-power prototype to the Persian Gulf this summer and it sees real potential to zap drones, small boats, and anti-ship cruise missiles. But experts assembled at this week’s Atlantic Council conference on missile defense agreed that directed energy weapons are decades from making a dent in much faster and tougher ballistic missiles, which China, North Korea, and Iran all have a-plenty.“Lasers against a lot of things look pretty cool,” said RAND scholar David Gompert. “Against ballistic missiles, it gets a little bit sportier.”

With so-called solid state laser technology likely to produce 100-kilowatt beams in the near future, “there are some very useful things they can do,” Defense Science Board member Robert Stein told me after the conference. But at realistically achievable power levels, he added, “they are not going to cut a ballistic missile in half or burn a huge hole through it.”

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