Aug. 24 (UPI) -- The Department of Defense is investing $17 million in directed energy laser weapons, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., announced at the Boeing facility in Albuquerque, N.M., on Wednesday.
"With our state's unique expertise in directed energy work, this funding will jump start the deployment of this critical technology and bring more high-paying jobs to the state," said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"This is an area where New Mexico can make yet another significant contribution to our nation's defense -- and in the process, we can see millions of dollars of investment and many new jobs in our state."
Boeing conducts laser research at its Albuquerque facility and with the Air Force's Starfire Optical Range at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The University of New Mexico's engineering school will also play a role in the program.
Heinrich is the founder of the Congressional Directed Energy Caucus which supports greater development and deployment of smaller, more economical lasers and high-energy microwave systems for the military.