Skip to comments.Fighter Jets with Missile-Killing Lasers Take Another Step Toward Reality
Posted on 05/03/2019 10:43:43 AM PDT by Red Badger
U.S. Air Force says a ground-based laser downed multiple test missiles over New Mexico.
A successful ground test has moved the U.S. military one big step closer to putting anti-missile lasers on its aircraft.
A ground-based laser shot down several missiles in flight during an April 23 test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Air Force officials said. Run by the Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, the test was part of the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator, or SHiELD, a program intended to protect aircraft from incoming missiles.
AFRL officials said security reasons prevented them from saying how many missiles were downed in the test.
The laser that the Air Force lab used for the test was ground-based, and on the heavy side.
The final SHiELD system, however, will be much smaller and lighter, as well as ruggedized for an airborne environment, an AFRL statement said. Flight tests are planned for fiscal 2020.
The military has already tested ground-based and ship-based lasers against incoming drones; at $1 per shot, anti-drone lasers are expected to become a cost-effective defense against tomorrows unmanned swarms. But downing missiles is harder. They move a lot faster than drones. Moreover, its a big technical challenge to shrink a laser system with the power to take down a missile into a package that can fit on a plane, and keep waste heat from frying everything onboard.
Its not the first time the Pentagon has tried it. In 2010, the Air Force mounted and fired off a megawatt-class chemical laser aboard a modified Boeing 747. But chemical lasers are unstable and dangerous compared to modern solid-state lasers. Another approach is using lasers to blind incoming missiles rather than physically damage them; Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems markets airborne lasers that do this to protect planes from shoulder-fired missiles.
While the AFRL works on SHiELD, which is aimed at stopping ground-to-air and air-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, the Missile Defense Agency is trying to figuring out whether a high-energy laser mounted on an F-35 could disable ICBMs. Results from initial studies are expected later this year.
Patrick Tucker is technology editor for Defense One. Hes also the author of The Naked Future: What Happens in a World That Anticipates Your Every Move? (Current, 2014). Previously, Tucker was deputy editor for The Futurist for nine years. Tucker has written about emerging technology in Slate, The Sun, MIT Technology Review, Wilson Quarterly, The American Legion Magazine, BBC News Magazine, Utne Reader, and elsewhere.
If anyone has an active TS/SCI, with a EE degree, Blackwater is hiring for directed energy weapons in NM.
Wonder if they will form an agency...
Only movie with two studying montages.
P.S. I cant stand the smell of popcorn
Starts at 1:28
Another media presentation ....compared to a functional laser missile destroyer....completely moot.
Is that you, professor?
I have seen these for years. The old Battlestar had Vipers that had lasers.
If the Russians apply this technology to sharks before we do, we are in trouble.
Totally misleading headline about “Fighter jets” ... they are decades away from making them that small and powerful with no waste heat problems. Ships sure, large cargo planes perhaps, fighters just no.
How long before the Chinese or Russians steal this technology?
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