Big screen to battlefield: How sci-fi can inspire next-generation weaponry

Big screen to battlefield: How sci-fi can inspire next-generation weaponry

My favorite fictional character is Han Solo. The “Star Wars” fighter pilot renegade challenged authority and fought the battle of good and evil, often using futuristic laser weapons, a form of directed-energy technology.

Directed energy has captivated science fiction fans for decades, but we must not allow a failure of imagination to prevent us from bringing these weapons from the big screen to the battlefield. For inspiration on how to accomplish this mission, let’s break down a few notable Hollywood scenes to separate fact from fiction regarding which capabilities are possible today, which are needed most urgently, what limiting factors are stymying development, and what the U.S. needs to do to lead the world in directed-energy innovation.

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