From the category of “It’s about time!,” defense contractor Lockheed Martin is planning to have the capabilities to equip U.S. Air Force fighter jets with laser weapons in the next few years. According to a report from the National Defense website, the lasers are on track to be placed on jets by 2025.
Mark Stephen, Lockheed’s business development lead for strategic technology development of missiles and fire control division, said, “We’re committing to putting a laser pod equipped with a high-energy laser in the air within five years.’’
Senior Manager of Business Development for Laser and Sensor Systems Robb Mansfield said that the company feels like it has perfected the technology that would allow the laser to locate and lock on a target long enough to destroy it. ‘‘The beam director is the optical system that puts the high-energy light on target and keeps it there with enough precision to defeat the threat,” said Mansfield.
Lockheed has also been working with the Army and Navy on laser weapons to help defend against rockets, small drones and even boats. The Army is expected to start testing its high-energy laser in 2021. “This is a 300-kilowatt-class laser weapon system, which mounts on the ground vehicle to defeat drones, rockets, artillery and mortars,” said Mansfield.
To build and manufacture the new laser systems, Lockheed Martin is investing more than $20 million into its Orlando-based optical components center.
Now that jets with lasers are becoming a reality, can someone please make some progress on hoverboards and light sabers?