Next-Generation Laser Weapons for fighter jets

The next-generation laser weapons for fighter jets are coming soon to F-35, F-16,  and F-15.  The air force laboratory tested a fiber optics laser at the white sands test range in New Mexico that successfully shot down multiple air-launch missiles in flight. the self protects high-energy laser demonstrator currently exists as a bulky ground-based demonstrator.  However, the air force is optimistic that a seld-protect high–energy laser can be shrunk to a small pod that could be tested on F-15 fighters by 2022 and eventually integrated into F-16 and F-35.

Next-Generation Laser Weapons for fighter jets
Next-Generation Laser Weapons for fighter jets

If airborne laser proves as viable and effective as expected then future laser weapons could profoundly transform aerial warfare by increasing the survivability of fighters, bombers, and even tankers to deadly anti-aircraft missiles.

The laser line could eventually serve as very fast and precise air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, with a virtually unlimited number of magazines.

Laser weapons are growing rapidly in prominence from small arms and tanks mounted laser dazzlers used by china to the ground or helicopter-mounted anti-drone and missiles lasers tested by the army.

Laser possesses the advantage of exceptional speed, it’s hard to beat the speed of light. Stealth and precision as well as extremely low cost per shot and virtually unlimited magazines. However, the laser requires a lot of power to remain coherent over long distances is subject to decreased effectiveness in hazy atmospheric conditions generate thermal buildup that may require cooling and until recently of required bulky power sources. Self protects high-energy laser is foremost a defensive active protection system designed to destroy or disrupt incoming missiles. Currently, long-range missiles like Russian‘s 48 n6 surface-to-air missiles or r-37 air-to-air missiles can threaten vulnerable support radar in tanker planes from over 200miles away. While fourth and fifth-generation fighters only become visible on radars at much shorter ranges their odds of evading more maneuverable short-range missiles are thought to be as low as 20 to 30 percent. though the laser lacks an akinetic pushback effect even a relatively weak laser could in theory quickly and precisely disrupt or destroy the sensitive optical guidance systems of incoming missiles. the more powerful laser could damage missiles’ flight control fins or even thermally trigger warheads more powerful lasers could also be readily adaptable offensive weapons targeting another aircraft and even surface targets. As laser could potentially do double duty as sensor systems these this could allow for a very rapid engagement time. Of course, effective range and the number of seconds of sustained burn required to achieve destructive effects will be important factors in determining a laser system’s effectiveness.

Next-Generation Laser Weapons for fighter jets

Furthermore, A laser can only engage one target at a time and must be mounted in such a way that it can draw a direct line of fire to potential targets.

The laser would have virtually unlimited ammunition would be nearly impossible to dodge and could be useful for attempting precision-lethal, or collateral damage attacks on material and vehicle targets.

The Laser could increase the survivability of both stealth and nonstealth fighters when operating in denied airspace forcing the enemy to expend more missiles to oversaturate defenses.

Energy weapons could also provide a badly needed close layer of defense for deep penetrating stealth bombers like the B-2 Spirit. As the B-2 spirit completely relies on stealth for survivability and lacks defenses against interceptors engaging than within visual range.

If lasers are widely adopted the current paradigm favoring stealth fighters with BVR missiles may change, as many more missiles are needed to achieve a high probability of kill. This could incentivize more aggressive engagements resulting in within visual range dogfights, possibly including laser-based attacks. Which will not be easily out-maneuvered or decoy.

The air force has a 155 million dollar self protect high-energy laser demonstration program consisting of three components.

The laser advancement for the next generation compact environments developed by Lockheed and the air force recently the strafe control system devised by Northrop Grumman and the laser pod research and development container under development by Boeing.




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