Just a day after we published a blog post discussing the US Army’s MPF program, and in an eye-popping development that would likely make the author of Hammer’s Slammers proud, comes news that any new combat vehicles being fielded henceforth would likely run on hybrid power and feature laser weapons. According to UPI, “The U.S. Army’s next-generation combat vehicle will likely run on hybrid power and feature laser weapons, possibly for offensive and defensive purposes, experts said during an event to discuss the system’s future on Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army.
The service’s efforts to field its first next-generation combat vehicle by 2035 requires major decisions to be made by 2025, less than a decade away, Col. William T. Nuckols, director of the Mounted Requirements Division at the Maneuver Center of Excellence,said during the association’s Institute of Land Warfare forum that focused on ground combat platforms.
Such a vehicle will likely also feature advanced-composite armor and active protection systems, but final decisions will hinge on future threats.”
UPI goes on to say that “when it comes to protecting such vehicles, different advanced-composite materials are being assessed, including nanotechnology and nano-grain metals, Dr. Bryan Cheeseman, team leader at the Army Research Laboratory’s Material Manufacturing and Technology Branch, said at the forum.
While several potentials were bandied about at the forum, the exact manifestation of the next-generation combat vehicle remains to be seen.
It could be a single combat vehicle replacing the Abrams tank, or Bradley fighting vehicle, or it could emerge as a family of vehicles.”
The problem with laser-based weaponry isn’t so much its lethality, but the size of the weapon itself. Typically, laser weapons are large and cumbersome, like the one shown here, which leads to a high and obvious profile on the battlefield. To acknowledge its employment on next-gen systems implies they have been able to reduce its footprint to the point where it does not appear any larger than a current weapons system, and that it can recharge itself quickly enough to get off rapid fire results.