The US Air Force’s research division AFRL invested $ 26.3 million in the Lockheed Martin concern to develop a combat laser for fighter jets. It is expected that his tests will begin in 2021.
The decision was made after a successful test of the LaWS (Laser Weapon System) system, installed on one of the US Navy ships. With the help of such lasers, fighters can destroy air-to-air and ground-to-air missiles.
But if the military contractors develop weapons of the future promises generous funding, then many experts do not hide their doubts about its effectiveness. In their estimation, lasers are not yet able to replace guns and missiles, but can only supplement their combat power. The currently operating anti-aircraft missile and artillery systems successfully perform the same tasks, with a more modest “salary”.
In the process of development, engineers will have to solve a lot of “incidental” aircraft-technical problems, in particular, related to vibration, abnormal temperatures and overloads. However, they are confident of success. Their main trump card – the rocket costs millions, and the laser “shot” – only a dollar.