Very soon the U.S. Military will be fitting some of their fighter jets with real laser weapons. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) says that the new laser system will be fitted onto jet aircraft in 2014 as a defensive weapon capable of knocking out missiles and other projectiles while in flight.
If you’ve been waiting for the future to finally get here, just go ahead and mark your calendar for 2014. It was recently announced that the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) would be retrofitting some U.S. military jets with actual 150KW lasers that will be able to knock missiles out of the sky.
The new laser weapons are part of DARPA’s High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System and are purportedly being fitted as a defensive measure specifically for knocking projectiles out of the sky such as surface-to-air missiles or any type of larger projectile. The exact specifics of the system’s capability are still classified.
According to DARPA the new laser weapon system will begin operations in 2014 with their first major round of extreme tests before actual use. The lasers will be tested for all types of projectiles that can be taken out of the sky, which would include other jet aircraft.
Actual news of the laser system comes direct from the U.S. Pentagon and is being developed specifically for the U.S. Navy and Air Force. They further elaborated that that the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) would be constructing a second laser system in addition to the current laser system.
Earlier on, the U.S. Navy tested a very similar yet larger laser system earlier on that successfully shot down objects even as small as mortar rounds. It was even used to knock out the motors on speedboats. This new system is far smaller and more advanced than some of the original concept laser defense weapons. One earlier design was so large that it required a 747 to house all of the electronics for cooling and powering it up.
GA-ASI, is an affiliate of the privately held General Atomics, which is a major military contractor will be creating the laser defense system,. They are a major player in the development of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), aka, ‘drones’, sophisticated surveillance and spying systems along with tactical reconnaissance radar systems. In addition to their recent advances in laser weapons they are also a major designer in electro-optical sensors and ultra-wideband data links for the U.S. government.