Mark Gunzinger, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, says that within just a few years, he expects far more powerful prototypes of more than 150 kilowatts. Within six to eight years, US forces could begin using laser systems of more than 300 kilowatts.

A 150 kilowatt laser would have anti-missile capabilities.

Special operations forces want to test a 150 kilowatt combat laser system by 2020 on an AC-130 gunship that specializes in ground support for troops.

The US military will also probably mount lasers on drones flying at very high altitudes, making them capable of shooting down ballistic missiles shortly after launch.

Combat lasers are also being placed on jet fighter and army trucks.

Later in the 2020s, combat lasers on navy ships should reach 500 kilowatts and possibly a megawatt. Navy have far more room for power and cooling systems.