Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

April Dinner Meeting: Directed Energy Weapons: Promise & Reality (Myths, Legends, and Facts: Reflections of a ‘Star Warrior’)

April 8, 2016 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Free - $27

Directed Energy Weapons: Promise & Reality (Myths, Legends, and Facts: Reflections of a ‘Star Warrior’)
with Dr. Jim Horkovich, Director for Directed Energy Programs for Schafer Corporation


  • 5:30 P.M: Social
  • 6:00 P.M: Dinner
  • 6:30 P.M: Dr. Jim Horkovich: “Directed Energy Weapons; Promise & Reality (Myths, Legends, and Facts: Reflections of a ‘Star Warrior’)”
  • 7:30 P.M: Q&A with Dr. Jim Horkovich

Ticket Prices

  • Presentation Only (No Dinner): FREE!
  • Dinner, Member/Spouse: $17.00
  • Dinner, Non-Member: $25.00
  • Dinner, Student with ID: $8


This talk presents a history of missile defense and the “Star Wars” program and the fundamental physics and engineering of laser weapon systems. 2013 marked the 30th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” speech. Since Archimedes’ “Burning Glass” at the siege of Syracuse 212 B.C. through the development of the LASER, man has been fascinated with the idea of using directed energy weapons. But nothing has done more to focus this effort than the threat posed by Mutually Assured Destruction. Under Reagan’s “Star Wars” plan, years and billions of dollars were invested in making high-energy laser systems a reality. This presentation traces the development of these systems from the Gas Dynamic LASER laboratory in the 1960s and the USAF Airborne Laser Laboratory of 1981 through to the latest UAV systems and Non-Lethal Area Denial systems of today. In reflecting on the effort invested in developing this technology, this talk addresses the critical role that these programs played in ending the cold war and continue to play in securing our national defense.

Speaker Biography

Jim Horkovich is the Director for Directed Energy Programs for Schafer Corporation. Horkovich delivers technology advances in multidisciplinary systems, including high-energy lasers, directed energy, high-power microwaves, electro-optics, power electronics, and thermal management.

Before rejoining Schafer in 2015, he was previously an engineering fellow at Raytheon Missile Systems from 2004 through 2014. From 1990 through 2004 he was a scientific, engineering, and technical advisor on laser and space-technology programs for Schafer Corp. and Science Applications International Corp. He was a senior systems engineer for the high-energy-laser and hardware-test programs, including Space Based Laser (SBL) and Airborne Laser, and senior systems engineer for the SBL Integrated Flight Experiment.

He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1990 after directing all Strategic Defense Initiative Organization laser-technology programs at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory. His earlier positions included Alpha Space-Based Laser Program Manager, flight-test engineer for laser guided munitions, and assistant professor of aeronautical engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He received two commendation medals and two meritorious service medals. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a doctorate in aeronautical engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Although much of his work has been classified, he has published 13 technical papers in the fields of high-energy gas lasers, fluid dynamics of pressure recovery systems, and high-power laser design.

He is an AIAA Fellow, the chair of the Directed Energy Program Committee and a member of the Emerging Technologies Committee, the Weapon System Effectiveness Technical Committee, and the Professional Member Education Committee. He also served as Chair of the Biennial Forum for Weapon System Effectiveness in 2009. In addition, he is President of the Board of Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS) and is a spokesperson and industry lead for the DEPS Directed Energy Outreach Program.


RSVP below or at the Eventbrite page:


April 8, 2016
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Free - $27
Event Category:
Event Tags:
, , , ,


University of Houston Science Center, Room 102
3369 Cullen Blvd.
Houston, TX 77204 United States
+ Google Map


Alan Sisson