“I think we are going to have to be selective for a while,” Schwartz says. “This is clearly an area for [science and technology investments], but while in the past we could pursue five to six applications, now it will be one or two. HPM clearly has potential. There are others [like Russia in particular] that have done more in these areas than we have. Clearly this is an area for continuing efforts. The Air Force will be part of that.”
However, choices are being made. The Mk. 84 bomb project has fallen by the wayside for now. Part of that decision was based on the available power sources.
“There is more to [directed energy applications] than meets the eye,” Schwartz says. “It deserves continued effort at Eglin [AFB, Fla.], Kirtland [AFB, N.M.] or the National Laboratories.”
The BPI and ASAT missions — plus the longer-range, higher-speed interceptor missiles and advanced warheads and sensors that go with them — also will receive attention again.