Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles and jet fighters to fire lasers by early 2020s
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Air Force one day will fire laser weapons from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and jet fighters to destroy high-value targets, conduct precision strikes, and incinerate enemy locations from the sky. Warrior Maven reports.
The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:
3 Dec. 2018 -- The first airborne tests are expected to be in 2021, Air Force officials say. Development focuses on increasing the power, precision, and guidance of existing laser weapons, and move from 10 kilowatts up to 100 kilowatts.
Air Force weapons developers also are working on the guidance mechanisms to enable laser weapons to stay on-track on a particular target.
Air Force leaders say they plan to begin firing laser weapons from large aircraft like C-17s and C-130s until the technology matures sufficiently to fire them from jet fighters like an F-15, F-16 or F-35. Given the state of current technology, cargo planes are better equipped in the short term to transport the requisite amount of mobile on-board power needed for airborne lasers.
John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics
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