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Will the Air Force’s F-35 Soon Get a Laser Gun?

Will the Air Force’s F-35 Soon Get a Laser Gun?

Kris Osborn

Security, Americas

Reuters

The future of war.

Key point: The Pentagon is looking into arming many of its planes with lasers.

The Air Force will one day fire high-tech laser weapons from drones and fighter jets to destroy high-value targets, conduct precision strikes and incinerate enemy locations from the sky.

The first airborne tests are expected to take place by 2021, Air Force officials have said. The developmental efforts are focused on increasing the power, precision and guidance of existing laser weapon applications with the hope of moving from 10-kilowatts up to 100 kilowatts. Air Force weapons developers are also working on the guidance mechanisms to enable laser weapons to stay on-track on a particular target.

Air Force leaders have said that the service plans to begin firing laser weapons from larger platforms such as C-17s and C-130s until technological miniaturization efforts can configure the weapon to fire from fighter jets such as 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.

The Air Force Research Laboratory is already working on a program to develop laser weapons for drones and manned aircraft to arm air platforms by the mid-2020s. When it comes to drone-fired lasers, there does not yet appear to be a timetable for when they would be operational weapons – however weapons technology of this kind is moving quickly.

Future laser weapons could substantially complement existing ordnance or drone-fired weapons such as a Hellfire missile. Laser weapons allow for an alternative method of destroying targets, rapid succession of fire, reduced expenditure of dollars and, quite possibly, increased precision, service officials have explained. For instance, a key advantage of using laser weapons would include an ability to melt or incinerate an incoming missile or enemy target without necessarily causing an explosion.

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Why Kylie Jenner Really Sold 51 Percent of Her Company | E! News

Kris Jenner speaks out about the future of Kylie Cosmetics after her “KUWTK” daughter’s $600M majority share sale to Coty. Watch! Full Story: https://www.eonline.com/news/1095254/kris-jenner-reveals-kylie-jenner-s-beauty-business-plans-after-majority-sale #KylieJenner #ENews #CelebrityNews #KrisJenner Watch Live from E! here: http://bit.ly/2vGuD5g Subscribe: http://bit.ly/enewssub About E! News: Giuliana … read more