This is not an April Fools' Day joke. The Navy's top geek squad wants to replace the M-240 machine gun mounted in the typical Humvee's gun turret with a
laser cannon. Why? To shoot down enemy drones that get too close.
Drones are quickly getting cheaper and more capable, and that's a potential problem for the U.S. military, which is studying ways to develop effective countermeasures it can then use to defend American forces from drone attacks.
The Office of Naval Research has done just that. The program is called
, which is designed to get laser weaponry out in the field. Tests
conducted in 2010 using an
successfully downed small drones at sea like those the military aims to target.
The first step in in the aforementioned program is "to equip Humvees and other ground vehicles with laser weapons to shoot missiles and unmanned aerial
vehicles out of the sky," according to a Navy press release.
Of course, there are still some things to be worked out. There's the matter of supplying power to the weapon, cooling the cannon after it's been fired. Even so, the Navy hopes to deploy its new toys by the end of 2013.