Air Force seeks best companies to develop next-generation airborne laser weapons

U.S. Air Force combat aircraft experts are trying to determine the state of the art in airborne laser weapons technology, and the companies best able to provide it.

May 16th, 2017
1705mae News Aircrat

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - U.S. Air Force combat aircraft experts are trying to determine the state of the art in airborne laser weapons technology, and the companies best able to provide it.

Officials at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., began the process last month as they issued a source-sought notice (FA8656-17-R-0005) for the Airborne Tactical Laser Technology request for information (RFI). The survey is looking for promising laser weapon system technologies suitable for near-term applications in a prototype airborne tactical laser weapon.

Who will be the companies providing the next generation of aircraft laser weapons? The Air Force is surveying industry to find the answer.

Air Force officials are trying to improve understanding of industry's best laser capabilities and their costs to support weapon system integration studies, as well as identify industry participants in future laser weapon system procurements.

Experts are thinking about developing a fieldable airborne prototype laser weapon to learn about real-world effectiveness and supportability. This request for information will help them assess the feasibility, cost, schedule, and risk of building such an airborne laser weapon prototype.

Specifically, Air Force experts are looking FOR MORE INFORMATION from industry on currently available technologies in laser sources, electrical power, thermal management, beam control, battle management, and any other subsystems required for system operation.

These subsystems must be able to operate in a flight environment. Although Air Force experts have not yet chosen a specific aircraft type for a future airborne laser weapon prototype, they are trying to keep the laser weapon's weight and volume to a minimum.

The Air Force wants information on airborne laser weapon performance, size and weight, cost, schedule, and risk for each concept submitted.

Air Force officials also are interested in industry's thoughts on airborne laser weapons concepts of operations and concepts of employment.

The Air Force wants any of industry's suggestions on the best approach to conducting a prototype laser weapon acquisition that could speed-up eventual fielding of tactical laser weapons.

Companies interested in the Airborne Tactical Laser Technology RFI were to submit white papers no later than 17 May 2017.

More information is online at www.fbo.gov/notices/78195c21dac09b9c01b749750632ae16.

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