News & Opinion | March 23, 2019 5:00 am

The Pentagon Wants $304 Million To Make A Space Laser

A particle-beam could be in orbit by 2023.

The Pentagon wants over $300 million to develop a space laser that could destroy enemy threats from space. (Getty)
Getty Images/Stocktrek Images

If the Pentagon has its way, they’ll get $304 million to explore what it would take to get a particle-beam in orbit around the Earth by 2023.

“The addition of the neutral particle Beam effort will design, develop, and conduct a feasibility demonstration for a space-based Directed Energy Intercept layer. This future system will offer new kill options for the [Ballistic Missile Defense System] and adds another layer of protection for the homeland,” says a Missile Defence Agency document put out last week.

As part of their ask for the 2020 budget, the Pentagon would also be using the fund to develop next-gen missile defense and technology as well as more powerful lasers. The defense officials say the weapons are needed to counter missile attacks from the likes of China, North Korea, and Russia.

Some $12 million of the funding will go to researching whether or not existing satellites can be fitted with lasers that could blast enemy missiles out of the air, Defense One reports.

The literal size of such technology, along with the cost to build it has been an issue for a long time, however Pentagon officials believe enough strides have been made in the advancement of this tech that it should move forward in their exploration in making it come to life.

“We now believe we can get it down to a package that we can put on as part of a payload to be placed on orbit,” a senior defense official said. “Power generation, beam formation, the accelerometer that’s required to get there and what it takes to neutralize that beam, that capability has been matured and there are technologies that we can use today to miniaturize.”

Though it might sound like a futuristic way to defend the United States from potential threats, here on the ground, countries could respond by manufacturing longer-ranger ballistics or ways to destroy U.S. interceptors.