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Lockheed to develop experimental laser for fighters

Lockheed Martin has received a $26.3 million contract to develop and produce a laser than can be tested on a fighter jet by 2021. ( Más...

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Not so fast ye detractors. The laser power available can be about the same as a 30-calbre bullet. So fighters can deal a death blow to another aircraft at close ranges. Antiaircraft guns, I don't think so because if range attenuation. But air-air combat... it's feasible. It will be pricey at first.
skylab72 2
Actually I think the physics tilts the advantage to the laser. The goal in combat is energy on target. Either 20mm or 30mm projectiles will depart the attacker below 2000 fps, then slow due to air drag and perhaps an uphill trajectory, be unable to change trajectory once on their way, and require significant technology and skill to deliver to the target. Then IF they impact, will only deliver energy proportional to their relative velocity to the target multiplied by their mass (quarter pound for the 20mm and 5/8 pound for the 30mm). Ammo consumption rates compared to kill rates from real air to air combat suggest that bullets on target are significantly less than 1%.

Lasers on the other hand deliver energy at 186,000 MILES per second (not feet) and given the distance scale of air to air combat can be continuously aimed while providing continuous feedback about the location of the target. And if you think "mere light" is no match for bullets, you have never seen even a kilowatt laser put through it's paces.
Shenghao Han 3
Next innovation of AA combat. Polished mirror aircraft skins.
travistx 1
Frickin' laser beams
lynx318 1
Lockheed install SHiELD, now all they need is a Hydra to test it on.
Bill Babis -1
Sounds like a deal. We spend more than that checking to see if earthworms feel pain when used as bait.
Leo Cotnoir 0
Sounds like just another LockMart boondoggle.
skylab72 0
Ever watch Eisenhower's farewell address?
Leo Cotnoir 0
I am not aware of any modern fighter being armed with .30 caliber guns. But the issue with lasers is less with the energy--and power--that can be emitted that it is with the amount that is absorbed by the target and how it is absorbed. While a bullet will penetrate the skin of an aircraft and damage components inside, most of the energy of a laser is dissipated in the skin. That is not to say that directed energy weapons are not feasible, just that they are, at this point anyway, not very practical.
David Rice 1
While it is true that the gun being tested in larger than a 30 caliber, here you go...F-35B with GAU-22/A cannon being tested:


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