It's not uncommon for the U.S. Air Force to contract out businesses for the development of technologies through their Air Force Small Business Innovation Research & Small Business Technology Transfer portal. However, there is one project titled "Floral Disruptor - Directed Energy Weed Abatement and Prevention Tool" that is particularly odd in about every single way. Yes indeed, 'Directed Energy' implies a technology similar to sound or energy weapons and all for the purpose of keeping the yard neat and trim, like the military traditionally likes things. The Air Force outlines the objective for the device as follows.
OBJECTIVE: Develop a device that uses directed energy technology to prevent and abate unwanted plants (weeds) in areas that require control or defoliation. The purpose of this system will be the removal of unwanted plants and keep seeds from germinating.
Maybe, touching down on an unkempt runway after a successful bombing run puts a damper on victory or maybe the government doesn't want to spend millions a year and waste their time keeping the yard in shape anymore. Either way, read on after the break to see the actual document and learn more, it won't be disappointing.
It all good on paper that the Air Force wants this device to accomplish the objective while not harming the environment more than every other chemical treatment alternative already does but the technology they have in mind to get it done is straight out of Sci-Fi movies where everything on the receiving end is much worse off afterwards, regardless of whether it's the intended target.
Private industry has been actively engaged in the research, development, and deployment of various physical control technologies utilizing microwave radiation (as heat), lasers, and sound to deter, disrupt, deny, or degrade the desired objective. Thermal technologies such as foam, hot water, steam and quenched hot gases to physically rupture cell membranes within young, vigorous green weeds to shut down the plant's capacity for photosynthesis, has been explored as a means for safe, effective weed control...Finally, the frequency used for this system must not interfere with any current operational aircraft or ground-based sensor systems and it must not be able to target personnel or wildlife.
There you have it, if this technology is successfully implemented in the military it will only be a matter of time before the old fashioned spray nozzle applicators and chemicals we're used to give way to devices you have only seen in video games. Sweet.