Lockheed Martin receives $26.3mn contract to develop airborne laser weaponry

Lockheed Martin receives $26.3mn contract to develop airborne laser weaponry”

Lockheed Martin has been awarded $26m by the United States government's Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) to develop a high-power fibre laser that will be tested on a fighter jet by 2021.

AFRL, which says that it plans to test the laser by 2021, awarded the contract as part of its "Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD)" program, and describes the effort as a major step forward in the maturation of protective airborne laser systems.

AFRL's SHiELD program includes turret research, laser pod research and development, and laser advancements research (LANCE), with the program specifically aimed at developing advanced laser weaponry systems.

A new contract that seems to be ripped from Star Wars calls for Lockheed Martin to design, develop and produce a high-power fiber laser for the U.S. Air Force Research Lab.

Cost has always been an issue with laser weapons, but fiber lasers should be affordable because they leverage a very large technology base for fiber-optic communications and industrial lasers, says Rob Afzal, senior fellow of laser weapon systems at Lockheed.

Aside from the challenging space and weight constraints, the deployment on a fighter jet would require a laser weapon to operate at significantly longer stand-off distances than land- or ship-fielded systems, because of the much higher speeds involved. Experimental lasers mounted on aircraft date back to the US Strategic Defense Initiative of the 1980s, but producing a practical weapon system has proven hard.

In 2014, the Navy mounted and tested a laser on the USS Ponce.

"LANCE will represent the next generation of a compact design", Afzal says.

Earlier this year, Lockheed's ground-based ATHENA system shot down five 10.8-ft (3.3-m) wingspan Outlaw drones by focusing its 30-kW Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) laser at their stern control surfaces until they burned off, sending them crashing into the desert floor. The LANCE contract leverages technology building blocks from internal research and development projects, including the ATHENA system and ALADIN laser, as well as contract experience gained from programs such as the U.S. Army's Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) program. "It's exciting to see this technology mature enough to embed in an aircraft", said Afzal. "The technologies are ready to be produced, tested and deployed on aircraft, ground vehicles and ships".

It's not clear at this time how the laser will be used, but Lockheed spokesperson Kate Scruggs told Business Insider that "the only thing that's been said publicly is that it will be used for self-defense against ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons".

The US Air Force plans to test the weapon by 2021.

Lockheed, Northrop and Boeing are three of the largest defense contractors and political donors in the US.

Like this



08 November 2017
Queen should say sorry and be investigated over offshore cash - Corbyn
It was founded in Bermuda and has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and elsewhere. A spokesman for the Duchy of Lancaster said: "We operate a number of investments and a few of these are with overseas funds.

08 November 2017
Thackeray's meeting with Pawar shows Sena's frustration: BJP
Once a senior Sena leader, Rane quit the party after a fallout with Thackeray, taking along with him a group of MLAs. In a surprise political move, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar in Mumbai .

08 November 2017
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan Defeats Coleman Young Jr. In Landslide Victory
With 570 of 590 precincts reported, Duggan had 70,373 votes to Young's 27,420 for a 72 to 28 percent margin. 7 Action News is projecting that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has won re-election, defeating Coleman A.

08 November 2017
Horrific video of 2016 Yamuna Expressway pile-up goes viral again
Several advisories have been issued by the Delhi government asking people not to venture out of their homes if not necessary. A video showing several cars colliding because of fog on Yamuna Expressway has gone went viral on social media.

08 November 2017
Instagram Stories Now Lets Users Upload Older Photos & Videos
Instagram recently added Poll Stickers that let you ask friends about literally anything and they could take a pick. This change to Instagram is rolling out as a part of update version 22 and 18 for iOS and Android respectively.

08 November 2017
Chicago Bulls power forward Bobby Portis scores 21 in return from suspension
Bulls: Hoiberg said Mirotic is responding well to having his activity level increased daily, but has yet to resume running. The Bulls suspended Portis after he punched teammate Nikola Mirotic during a preseason practice.

08 November 2017
Kate Middleton Wears a Dress That Meghan Markle Has Worn Before
He told Hello: "November is the Queen and Prince Philip's platinum wedding anniversary so they can't trump that". Prince Harry joined volunteers in Barbados.

08 November 2017
[Tweets] Arsenal Shareholder Slams Mesut Ozil & Arsene Wenger After City Defeat
The Gunners made the France global their record signing over the summer, with £46 million worth of faith invested in his talent.

08 November 2017
Angry mob throwing 'flaming tar balls' set fire to baby elephant
The photograph was taken by Biplab Hazra, a wildlife photographer from West Bengal. The photograph by Biplab Hazra is a proof of the unending elephant-human conflict.

08 November 2017
Facebook wants your nudes to fight spread of revenge porn
Facebook then uses the photo-matching AI it's already been using when it automatically tags your face in images and the like. The technology will also utilize artificial intelligence, and any images uploaded will not be stored.