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Military & Veterans' Issues

Air Force Fighters Could Get Lasers By 2020

air_force_lasers.jpg
Air Force Times
/
courtesy, Air Force Research Lab

The Air Force is getting very close to high-powered laser weaponry on its fighter planes, both for defensive and offensive operations.  

It’s all very “War of the Worlds,” but, the military may be able to mount lasers on its fighters by the year 2020.

Speaking at the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference last week, Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, Commander of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, said lasers and high-powered microwaves does sound like sci-fi, but he’s talking about pods with directed energy capability on fighters within five to 10 years.

And, the Air Force Times reported, Carlisle says the technology is a game-changer by defeating an enemy’s surface-to-air capability, such that it could be used to protect U.S. air space as well as being lighter and smaller than anything before it.

Air Force Special Operations Commander Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold told the group he wants lasers on AC-130Jgunships by the end of this decade.

The lasers have a battery able to store thousands of shots, and are relatively inexpensive to fire -- needing only the electricity required to run the device.

Heithold added that high-powered microwaves mounted on aircraft could knock out enemy power grids and stop anti-air weapons from acquiring a target lock.