Sep 25, 2015
The U.S. Air Force is Ground-Testing Laser Weapons for Future Use on F-15s, F-16s and F-35s
The Air Force plans to arm its fleet of fighter jets with laser weapons able to incinerate enemy targets in the not-too-distant future.
Aircraft-launched laser weapons could eventually be engineered for a wide range of potential uses, including air-to-air combat, close air support, counter-UAS, counter-boat, ground attack and even missile defense, officials said.
Air Force Research Laboratory officials have said they plan to have a program of record for air-fired laser weapons in place by 2023.
Ground testing of a laser weapon called the High Energy Laser, or HEL, is slated to take place this year at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., service officials said.
The High Energy Laser test is being conducted by the Air Force Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.
The first airborne tests are expected to take place by 2021, Air Force officials have said.