United States defence officials are planning to test a neutral particle beam orbital weapon in 2023, Defense One reports.
The Pentagon has asked for $304 million in the 2020 budget to develop this technology as a countermeasure to potential intercontinental missile threats.
While officials plan to invest $15 million into research regarding the disabling of missile by satellites with lasers fitted to them, they are also focusing heavily on the development of particle beams.
These beams fire a stream of subatomic particles which travel close to light speed, damaging the target by disrupting its molecular structure.
The US Department of Defense stated that while it will conduct an explorative study to test the technology, it may not actually deploy the weapon if it is not found to be economically or functionally viable.