Published: Thu, November 09, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Lockheed Martin receives contract to develop laser weapons for United States fighter jets

Lockheed Martin receives contract to develop laser weapons for United States fighter jets

Representatives of Lockheed Martin, development of lasers, said that by 2021, the Pentagon will test fighter jets with laser weapons. The Air Force apparently wants to one day use the lasers for self-defense.

Lockheed Martin has more than 40 years of experience developing laser weapon systems.

Lockheed Martin announced on Monday that it received a $26.3 million contract from the US Air Force to develop a high-energy laser weapon for US fighter jets. The contract is part of AFRL's Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program, and is a major step forward in the maturation of protective airborne laser systems.

Read the whole story from Business Insider.

Researchers will focus on beam control and firing, not to mention a system to power and cool the laser.

In March, Lockheed delivered a 60 kilowatt-class laser that can be installed on military trucks like the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) - the largest vehicle in the US Army inventory.

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A laser mounted on a jet immediately conjures images from Star Wars. "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".

Although Afzal didn't disclose how powerful Lockheed's laser will be, he did say that it would be in the "tens of kilowatts" range.

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