US Military Will Install Laser Turrets on Bombers and Fighter Jets

Jesus Diaz
JAN 24, 2013 2:20 PM

It was science fiction before, but now it’s really happening, Young Skywalker: The US Navy and Air Force are going to install liquid-cooled, solid-state lasers in combat airplanes. Laser turrets designed to defend the planes by shooting incoming threats like surface-to-air missiles and rockets. Seriously. The above is an official concept image by DARPA, but integration is happening this year, with real firing tests coming in 2014.

The USAF has been playing with lasers in planes for a while. They worked to create the the highly successful—but ultimately shelved—Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser Testbed. Remember Reagan’s Star Wars? This was one of the few technologies that we got to work outside those 3D animations that scared the Soviets so much.

But that was a huge megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser designed to take down intercontinental ballistic missiles and other surface-to-surface weapons. That’s why it required a 747 to ferry it around.

These are solid-state lasers that will be light enough to be installed in bombers and fighter jets, and will be fired to defend themselves against anti-air defenses like surface-to-air missiles and rockets.

Read more: US Military Will Install Laser Turrets on Bombers and Fighter Jets — GIZMODO.

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