Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Air Force, Lockheed Martin developing laser weapons for fighter jets

GETTY“The technologies are ready to be produced tested and deployed on aircraft ground vehicles ships GETTY“The technologies are ready to be produced tested and deployed on aircraft ground vehicles ships
Laurie Berry | 09 November, 2017, 15:40

The United States Air Force is working with Lockheed Martin, based out of Littleton, to develop lasers on fighter jets.

"We have demonstrated our ability to use directed energy to counter threats from the ground, and look forward to future tests from the air as part of the SHiELD system".

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $26.3 million contract to develop a laser weapon for United States fighter jets.

LANCE is created to operate in a compact environment, and as such, the Lockheed Martin team focused on developing a compact, high efficiency laser within challenging size, weight and power constraints.

The deal would form part of AFRL's Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator programme, which comprises three subsystems - the beam-control system that directs the laser onto to the target, the pod that powers and cools the laser, and the actual laser.

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AFRL has stated that SHiELD would be used to attack other aircraft and missiles fired from the air and the ground.

When it comes to the airborne laser, Lockheed will now have to make a system that can be installed onto a fighter jet. "It's a completely new and different challenge to get a laser system into a smaller, airborne test platform".

According to the UPI, the laser would be developed by Lockheed while Northrop Grumman will develop the beam-control system and Boeing will develop the pod.

The company hopes to have the weapons tested and battlefield ready by 2021. "It's exciting to see this technology mature enough to embed in an aircraft", said Afzal. When asked whether LANCE could take down missiles in the boost phase, Afzal responded that mission requires a higher power and longer range.

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