We have all seen plenty of movies where lasers have been perfected as weapons systems, we have seen our favorite heros shoot lasers out of handheld guns and even out of spacecrafts, even though significant progress has been made to incorporate weapons into real weapons systems there’s still some work to be done before the technology can be really put to use. The United States Air Force aims to have combat ready lasers on its war planes by the end of this decade.
These laser-firing armaments that the USAF wants on its planes by 2020 are called directed-energy weapons pods and they will be fitted on the country’s war planes. Pilots will use the lasers to burn down drones, missiles as well as enemy aircraft in combat.
Speaking at a fifth-generation warfare lecture during the Air Force Association Air & Space conference this week Air Force General Hawk Carlisle said “I believe we’ll have a directed energy pod we can put on a fighter plane very soon, that day is a lot closer than I think a lot of people think it is.”
It appears that the USAF will be going with General Atomics’ 120KW HELLADS system which recently entered ground testing, measuring just 1.3 x 0.4x 0.5 meters the pod is small enough that it can be fitted to a Predator C drone by 2018. It only requires a single lithium-ion battery pack to work.
Nevertheless the weapons system will first be put through very stringent tests to ensure operational capabilities that meet all of the USAF’s requirements before it’s deemed fit enough for active deployment on the country’s war planes.