U.S. Army researchers are canvassing U.S. industry and colleges to determine if anyone is capable of fitting a high-energy laser drill to a humvee land vehicle and using it to penetrate 8 to 12 inches into dense material from distances as far away as 320 feet.
The solicitation (W909MY-08-R-HELD), which is on behalf of the Army's Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate Science and Technology Division at Fort Belvoir, Va., makes no mention of whether Army leaders would intend to use this stand-off laser drill as a weapon.
In theory, the Army could use such a system to approach targets covertly and drill through concrete, steel, wood, or other materials from a stand-off distance equal to the length of a football field. The drill could consist of one or more laser beams.
At present, there is no clear indication of whether anyone in industry or academia might be able to fulfill the Army's request. Companies and colleges have until 19 Nov. 2007 to respond if they believe they have the ability to do this.