Fakurian / Futurism
About Time!

Air Force Research Lab Says Force Fields Are “on the Horizon”

byDan Robitzski

They called it a "missile defense umbrella," which sounds way less cool.

Shields Up!

The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) seems to be working on bringing a staple of science fiction weaponry — the force field — into reality.

The announcement arrived as part of a new AFRL report on the future of directed energy weapons — you know, lasers and stuff — and how they might be used by the military in the coming decades. The report concedes that developing a missile defense force field will take substantial technological development, but it also opines that directed energy weaponry has reached a “tipping point” of practicality, with a press release sent to The Drive claiming that “the concept of a [directed energy] weapon creating a localized force field may be just on the horizon.”

Not Quite

Unfortunately, when the AFRL talks about force fields, it doesn’t quite mean the laser-like bubbles that the Gungans used against the Trade Federation in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.”

Rather, the military describes a force field as an “umbrella” formed by various directed energy weapons — currently mounted on vehicles but eventually orbiting in space — that zap down any missiles entering a certain radius.

Advertisement

“By 2060 a sufficiently large fleet or constellation of high-altitude [directed energy weapon] systems could provide a missile defense umbrella, as part of a layered defense system, if such concepts prove affordable and necessary,” the report reads.

“By 2060 we can predict that [directed energy] systems will become more effective, and this idea of a force field includes methods to destroy other threats too,” AFRL Directed Energy Deputy Chief Scientist Jermey Murray-Krezan said in the release. “Eventually there may be potential to achieve the penultimate goal of a Nuclear or ballistic missile umbrella. It’s fun to think about what that might be in 2060, but we don’t want to speculate too much.”

READ MORE: Air Force Directed Energy Report Argues Defensive Force Fields May Be “Just On The Horizon” [The Drive]

More on lasers: US Army Testing Machine Gun-Style Laser Weapon That Vaporizes Targets

Advertisement


Futurism Readers: Find out how much you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. By signing up through this link, Futurism.com may receive a small commission.

Share This Article

Copyright ©, Camden Media Inc All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Data Use Policy. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.