The fourth U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft arrives at the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada in this April 24, 2013 photo released on May 8, 2013. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The US Air Force revealed a ground laser system that has the ability to protect fighter jets and other military aircraft from incoming tests such as missiles or anti aircraft material, the prototype is set to be finished by 2021, according to The Drive.
The Air Force and Research Laboratory successfully tested the new artillery with defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The technology was originally to be made specifically for ground assault technology, however the technology is being developed to be fitted to military aircraft material. The defense contractor has been successful with a few of these tests using a Dassault F10 business jet in the pat.
However, the testing is still under concern as the project is rumored to still be in stage one, according to the Drive and material presented to the public even though much of it was redacted. The goal at the moment is adapting low ground assaults tests in order to identify what type of atmosphere the technology will do best in, as well as deciding whether if the operators manning the lasers have the ability to diffuse the missiles and in what atmospheric conditions.
"The successful test is a big step ahead for directed energy systems and protection against adversarial threats," U.S. Air Force Major General William Cooley, head of Air Force Research Laboratory, said in an official statement. "The ability to shoot down missiles with speed of light technology will enable air operation in denied environments."
The second phase of testing is meant to create the actual prototype for the aircraft themselves. The project known as SHiELD will also need to adjust power in order to be able to neutralize threats in all situations, since the power of lasers are effected greatly to atmospheric conditions, and with that in mind the defense contractor is supposed to successfully demonstrate a "beam control, power, cooling, and system control in flight qualified pod." Something the defense contractors contract was very much focused on.
Lockheed Martin themselves have been openly working on miniaturizing the initial ground turret technology to fit an aircraft. The company has already developed an "Army AH-64 Apache gunship helicopter [using] a podded solid-state laser from Raytheon to destroy targets at White Sands. The US Navy has also been actively developing laser weapons for its ships, too, and there have been numerous tests of laser weapons in the past two years across the services," according to The Drive.
If everything stays on schedule the US Air Force is about two years out from introducing this revolutionary technology in warfare.
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