Laser Weapon System to Shoot Down Anti-Aircraft Missiles

Laser Weapon System to Shoot Down Anti-Aircraft Missiles

A view of one of the Heads-Up Display (HUD) screens from inside the cockpit of a Strike Fighter Squadron 136 (VFA-136) F/A-18C Hornet aircraft.

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A compact directed energy weapon has been delivered to the USAF as part of Lockheed Martin aid project to the US Air Force research Lab for the development of high energy laser weapon systems. The company revealed that it had delivered the system to help the Air Force with equipping a tactical fighter jet with a laser capable of shooting down anti-aircraft missiles – a considerable milestone, according to 

“It is the smallest, lightest, high energy laser of its power class that Lockheed Martin has built to date,” Tyler Griffin, a company executive, told reporters earlier this month in the run up to the Farnborough Air Show. “It is a critical benchmark in developing an operational laser weapon system in the airborne domain.”

The system, dubbed as LANCE, Laser Advancements for Next-generation Compact Environments, is valued for its minimal space, weight and power requirements. “It’s one-sixth the size of what we produced for the Army going back to just 2017″ the company said, referring to the RELI (Robust Electric Laser Initiative) program. 

Kent Wood, acting director of AFRL’s directed energy directorate, said in a statement to Breaking Defense that the subsystems delivered under SHiELD “represent the most compact and capable laser weapon technologies delivered to date.”

“Mission utility analyses and wargaming studies are ongoing and will help determine how these subsystems and/or an integrated laser weapon system might potentially be used. Specific targets for future tests and demonstrations will be determined by the results of these studies as well,” Wood continued.

“A variety of potential applications and platforms are being considered for potential demonstrations and tests, in partnership with our warfighter stakeholders. At this time, no decision has been made on a specific application or platform for these follow-on activities, no flight demonstration is funded and there is no direct transition plan into a program of record.”