The ZEUS laser will detonate any mines or explosives blocking airfields.
The U.S. Air Force is working on new lasers designed to detonate landmines, bombs, and other hazards from nearly 1,00 feet away.
The Recovery of Airbase Denied by Ordnance (RADBO) system does exactly what the name implies, C4ISRNET reports: If an airfield is blocked by mines or even just debris, the Air Force wants a way to clear it out without putting people at risk.
The Air Force awarded a $40 million contract to the military contractor Parsons to actually develop the laser, C4ISRNET reports. While the laser itself will be attached to a ground vehicle, it will primarily be used to clear hazards out of current and future airfields for the Air Force to then use.
The attached ZEUS laser will be able to fire "more than 300 meters away from the vehicle and is powerful enough to detonate small submunitions from cluster bombs, land mines, general purposed bombs and thick-cased artillery rounds," according to Parsons.
As C4ISRNET notes, the bomb-clearing system isn't exactly heralding in a new era of laser warfare, like the high-energy weapons that the Pentagon has been developing in recent years.
However, it does show that lasers are becoming increasingly commonplace and useful in a military setting, even if they're not being used directly as a weapon.
READ MORE: Air Force awards laser-armed RADBO contract to Parsons [C4ISRNET]
More on military tech: The U.S. Military Is Buying a $130 Million Laser Weapon