In a move that could revolutionize aerial combat, the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) has awarded Lockheed Martin a US$26.3 million contract to design, develop, and produce a high-power laser weapon that the AFRL wants to install and test on a tactical fighter jet by 2021. The new test weapon is part of the AFRL Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program tasked with developing airborne laser systems.
Could this be developed into a missile killer – like maybe for ICBMs?
It was 5-0 at the US Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico as a Lockheed Martin prototype laser weapon system shot down five unmanned drones with a 100 percent success rate. The August test of the Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) system against five Outlaw drones was designed to demonstrate how the system’s advanced beam control technology and an solid-state fiber laser could decisively destroy unmanned aerial threats.
The radar at the heart of US Army’s Patriot missile system is getting a bit long in the tooth, so Lockheed Martin has announced the debut of its next-generation air and missile defense radar demonstrator. The 360⁰ capable Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar for Engagement and Surveillance (ARES) will be unveiled to the public at the 2017 Space & Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.