Scientists in China who have been experimenting with materials to protect drones and missiles from laser attacks say they have discovered a surprising potential solution – adhesive. An experiment showed that samples coated with a material made from a common low-cost resin remained intact after being blasted by a weapons-grade laser beam for 15 seconds with a power density of 500 watts per sq cm. This is far more intense that what is required to destroy an unprotected ballistic missile, according to South China Morning Post.
The newest, most powerful laser currently available to the US military generates a 300-kilowatt beam. Megawatt-power laser systems do not yet exist but are under development, the site noted. The rapid development of hypersonic weapon programmes in China and Russia made laser weapons a top priority for the US military, said Admiral Michael Gilday, the chief of US naval operations.
The US Department of Defence reportedly spends US$1 billion a year on laser weapon development. The technology is seen as a promising countermeasure against hypersonic weapons because a focused laser beam travels at the speed of light.