(U.S. Army/C. Todd Lopez)

After years of testing out a low-energy Stryker-mounted directed energy system, the Army is formally pushing for a combat-ready laser weapon to blast enemy drones and ordnance out of the sky in the next four years.

The Army is officially accelerating the prototyping and fielding of four Stryker vehicles outfitted with 50 kW-class laser weapons by fiscal year 2022, the service announced on July 26, a ten-fold increase over the 5 kW-class system that artillery soldiers have been testing in Germany since early 2018.

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After testing out a batch of brand new upgunned Stryker infantry fighting vehicles with outfitted 30mm autocannons in Europe, the Army is looking to extend the extra-lethal unmanned weapon system to its existing fleet of up-armored battlewagons.

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After rolling out a batch of Stryker armored infantry fighting vehicles upgunned with 30mm autocannons to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe, the Army is eyeing the unmanned turrets for several other ground combat vehicles.

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The Army may have festooned its Stryker fighting vehicles with a slew of new armaments as part of the Pentagon's relentless pursuit of lethality, but the upgunned infantry carriers are apparently hobbled by a major deficiency that makes them especially vulnerable in a fight against Russia or China.

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Cpl. Cole Trevor Wixom, 24, and Pfc. Jamie R. Riley, 21, died when two Stryker vehicles reportedly crashed into each other at the McGregor Range Training Complex, New Mexico. (U.S. Army)

Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Army has identified two soldiers killed in a tragic vehicle crash during training on Tuesday.

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A NATO ally dismissed as fake news claims that a U.S. Army Stryker armored vehicle accidentally ran down and killed a child during a road march through Lithuania in early June, Reuters reports, citing the rumor as an effort to undermine the Saber Strike 2018 joint military exercises currently underway in eastern Europe.

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