The U.S. Army is in the process of equipping Stryker with tank-launched “hunter-killer” Drones and laser weapons. The laser system can autonomously track targets and jam drone communications.

The Army is in the process of equipping its fleet of Stryker with laser weapons and little vehicle-launched “hunter-killer drones to bring new attack possibilities to the platform as it develops into a modern risk environment.

Stryker maker General Dynamics Land Systems has been evaluating an integrated sensor-shooter drone system installed on the vehicle itself. A little, vertical take off security drone, called the Shrike 2, launches from the turret of the tank to sense, find and track opponent targets. Then, utilizing a primary video data link, it can operate in tandem with an attack missile to ruin the targets it discovers. The technology is meant to speed up the sensor-to-shooter loop and function as its own “hunter-killer” system.

“A missile warhead can be launched before you show up in town. It has a sensor and killer all in one platform. Let’s reach out and kill the enemy before we even show up,” Michael Peck, Enterprise Business Development, General Dynamics Land Systems, informed TechCrunchX in an interview recently.

Peck included that the Stryker-launched drone system could make a distinction in a wide variety of tactical scenarios to include assaulting major power mechanized formations and discovering terrorist enemies blended into civilian locations.

“It will go out in an urban environment and it will sense and find your shooter or incoming RPG,” Peck added.

The Army is also developing a Mobile High-Energy Laser weapons system, with ongoing tests on Strykers in the last few years. Firing a 5kw laser, a Stryker armored vehicle ruined an opponent drone target in prior testing, raising confidence that combat vehicle-fired laser weapons might become operational very soon.​

A laser system mounted on Stryker
A laser system mounted on Stryker

The laser weapon system utilizes its own Ku-band tracking radar to autonomously obtain targets in case other sensors on the automobile are disabled in battle. It also has an electronic warfare jamming system meant to block the signal of enemy drones.

Lasers can likewise allow quiet defense and attack, something which offers a significant tactical benefit as it can afford Stryker vehicles the chance to perform battle objectives without giving away their position.

A Congressional Research Service report from earlier this year, called “U.S. Army Weapons-Related Directed Energy Programs,” details a few of the essential benefits and constraints of fast-evolving laser weapons.

“DE (directed energy) could be used as both a weapon and a sensor, thereby shortening the sensor-to-shooter timeline to seconds. This means that U.S. weapon systems could conduct multiple engagements against a target before an adversary could respond,” the Congressional report states.

Lasers also bring the considerable benefit of staying ahead of the “cost curve,” making them simpler to utilize repeatedly. In lots of instances, inexpensive lasers could destroy targets instead of expensive interceptor rockets.

Furthermore, mobile-power technology, targeting algorithms, beam control, and thermal management technologies are all advancing rapidly, a scenario which increases prospects for useful laser applications.