- The U.S. Air Force is working with Lockheed Martin to deploy lasers on fighter jets by 2025.
- The SHiELD program will allow fighter jets to shoot down incoming missiles.
- Unlike guns, lasers have an almost infinite ammunition supply.
The U.S. Air Force envisions placing laser weapon systems on fighter jets by the mid-2020s. The service is banking on a defense contractor’s SHiELD laser system, a pod-mounted laser that will protect fighters from incoming missiles.
The system will likely be used—at first, anyway—to protect older fighters that can’t take advantage of stealth to hide from the enemy.
The system is called SHiELD, or Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator. National Defense reports SHiELD is a pod-mounted laser developed by Lockheed Martin on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory. Mounted on the fuselage or wing of a fighter jet, SHiELD could shoot down incoming air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.