The United States Air Force has announced that it will begin assembling a prototype of the first tactical laser weapon for in-flight missile destruction this month.
In the near future, fighters willthree basic modules of the defensive system are installed. Delivery of the rest of the items is scheduled for July with final assembly due before the end of the year.
According to a statement from the US Air Force Research Laboratory, high-energy laser weapons are intended solely for defensive purposes, namely to protect aircraft from air-to-air missiles andGround-to-air. The installation guidance system can hit objects moving faster than the speed of sound, directing the beam taking into account external factors and dynamic flight conditions.
Components and subsystems were developed by Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman.
The US military planned to deploylaser weapon back in 2015, but faced a whole host of technical difficulties related to fire control. Even after the installation of the first prototypes this year, their tests will only be completed by 2024.
text: Ilya Bauer, photos and videos: Lockheed Martin