In short lasers or as the title stated, directed energy weapons, how soon will we see lasers weaponized in large number on the battlefield? The U.S. Navy already has lasers, which has been extremely successful in lighting drone boats on fire and subsequently sinking them as well as defending against drone missiles as well. So with these laser cannons on ships already, when can we expect to see these powerful futuristic weapons on other battlefield implements?For aircraft, the estimate is roughly 2020. Anti-missile laser turrets are in the works to be placed on F-35's and future sixth generation fighters. How awesome is that? Not even Star Wars with their advanced technology had the thought to put an anti-missile laser turret on their fighters and attack aircraft (Please don't sue us, Disney).The current status of laser weapons is this;Naval ships, check.Already shooting shit down.Aircraft, 2020.Two years...well one and a half years is not long, meaning they have already probably experimented with putting a viable laser platform on one of our 5th generation fighters.[caption id="attachment_18507" align="alignnone" width="750"]
U.S. Air Force early test of airborne lasers.[/caption]Tanks, unknown.We'd say shortly after aircraft. If you're able to get a sufficiently powerful laser on an airframe, we don't see why you wouldn't equip the next generation of tanks with some sort of directed energy weapon countermeasure as well. Plus weight shouldn't be an issue, after all, tanks are already heavy as hell, what's another 200-300 pounds. Ground troops, unknown.This one is the real kicker. Tanks and planes have big ass engines that can support the weight of batteries/whatever powerplant necessary to power the weapon. Grunts have to carry that and you can only load folks down so much (hellooooo VA claim for bad knees and bad back). China already claimed they have one (not sure how credible that is though...). We'd say a real laser rifle is probably...2040 at least.We may be a little bit behind on the comics and the highly advanced weaponry of Tony Stark, but the cool and possibly frightening thing (if you're an enemy of the United States) is that directed energy weapons are going to be part of warfare very very very soon.