The technology behind space ship lasers and force fields is a lot closer to reality than many think.
Although those lasers and force fields won't be fielded for a few more years, Gus Khalil, an engineer at the Army's Tank and Automotive Command in Dearborn, Mich., said the Army has identified what they want for the Army's Future Combat System.
"There's a lot more demands for the FCS vehicle than there are for the legacy force today," he said. "Anything we do today that gives the soldiers less capability than he has is unacceptable."
That technology is being developed for the Army's Future Combat System, the family of 16 manned, unmanned, ground and aerial vehicles the Army wants fielded by 2010.
The manned ground vehicles have to weigh less than 20 tones. They also have to be as fast, as mobile and as lethal as an M-1A2 Abrams and M2 Bradley fighting vehicle.
Doing all that will be like making a Toyota truck as durable as an 18-wheel semi-truck, one TARDECE engineer quipped at a recent FCS conference in Dearborn, Mich.
But it is doable Khalil said. To demonstrate that, Khalil had a mock-up of the laser gun system at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Oct. 6-8.
The gun program falls under the Combat Hybrid Power System. Initiated by DARPA six years ago and handed over to TARDEC two years ago, the program is developing the FCS' "pulsed power" weapons.
Since the system is just being developed, the weapons could be Electro-thermal Chemical guns or even a laser gun capable of firing artillery rounds or destroying tanks, he said.
The mock up showed how TARDEC wants the system to work. On one end was a pack of three lithium-ion battery modules. When it was "fired" it went through a converter that increased the charge from 100 volts to 1,000 volts.