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WASHINGTON — Even before Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani got off a commercial airliner in Baghdad last week, his fate was already sealed.
The Navy is scared to death that rival countries like China, Russia and Iran might sink its multibillion dollar surface ships with powerful cruise missiles and waves of cheap drones. But while ship-mounted lasers could be the Navy's most effective response to these threats, a new Congressional Research Service report on directed energy weapons indicates many of the Navy's newest destroyers might not have enough power to fire them.
The Navy "will have to either remove something or look at 'very aggressive power management,'" in order to install one 60 kilowatt laser system, called the high-energy laser with integrated optical dassler and surveillance (HELIOS), onto the newest flight of Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the report said, citing Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, director of Navy Surface Warfare, who was quoted in several news articles.
"[W]e are out of Schlitz with regard to power," Boxall said, noting that the Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyers are already strapped powering the new AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar. "'We used a lot of power for that and we don't have as much' extra for additional functions."
U.S. Army weapons officials are testing an experimental drone armed with a multi-shot, 40mm grenade launcher to destroy enemy targets hiding behind cover.
The U.S. Air Force says airmen serving in cyber; space; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and remotely piloted aircraft jobs may be eligible to receive the newly created Remote Combat Effects Campaign Medal if they were part of operations that had significant impact.
In a first for the Navy, a quadcopter drone was flown more than a mile from shore on Oahu to deliver a 5-pound payload of circuit cards, medical supplies and food items to the submarine USS Hawaii in a potentially radical new way to provide logistics resupply of small items to subs at sea, officials said.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
The number of countries with military drones has skyrocketed over the past decade, a new report revealed, showing that nearly 100 countries have this kind of technology incorporated into their armed forces.
In 2010, around 60 countries had drones, but that number has since jumped to 95, a report from Bard College's Center for the Study of the Drone revealed. Dan Gettinger, the report's author, identified 171 different types of unmanned aerial vehicles in active inventories. Around the world, there are at least 21,000 drones in service, but the number may actually be significantly higher.
There are well over 200 military drone units operational in 58 different countries.