High energy laser weapons are a hot area of research with companies including Lockheed Martin, Rheinmetall and Northrop Grumman.
Boeing is also in the mix with its High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD), which is being put through its paces by the US Army. Between November 18th and December 10th, the HEL MD successfully took out mortar rounds and UAVs in flight, marking a first for the vehicle-mounted system.
Intended to demonstrate the potential of directed-energy technology for protecting troops against RAM (Rockets, Artillery and Mortars), as well as UAVs and cruise missiles, the multiple test events saw the HEL MD successfully engage over 90 mortar rounds and several UAVs. Army officials say mortars and UAVs are representative of the threats faced by US and allied forces in the battlefield.