The US Air Force has been pursuing the transformation of air and space power through development of technologies that yield new capabilities and by adopting novel operational concepts that enhance our ability to achieve desired military effects. Maturing a comprehensive set of technologies is the mission of the Air Force Research Laboratory. The transformation includes migrating military capabilities to unmanned platforms for a wide range of air applications and developing new directed energy capabilities, which produce effects on the battlefield ranging from the traditional destruction of enemy equipment to the revolutionary non-lethal, non-destructive stopping of advancing enemy troops. Vehicles being planned at the Air Force Research Laboratory include unmanned planes for surveillance and reconnaissance. Combat operations of the future may see officers giving commands to fleets of unmanned vehicles that are able to carry out orders on their own. Although precision munitions are smaller, more precise, and more autonomous, weapons using directed energy are beginning to emerge.

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