Starting this year, the US Air Force will begin installing laser systems on its fighters.

US Air Force Command said it will begin assembling a prototype of the first tactical laser weapon to destroy missiles in flight this month..

In the near future, the fighters will be equipped with three basic modules of the defense system. Delivery of the rest of the items is scheduled for July, with final assembly  should be completed by the end of the year.

According to a statement from the US Air Force Research Laboratory, high-energy laser weapons are intended solely for defensive purposes, namely, to protect aircraft from missiles of the class «air-to-air» and «ground-to-air». The guidance system of the installation can hit objects moving faster than the speed of sound, directing the beam taking into account external factors and dynamic flight conditions.

Starting this year, the US Air Force will begin installing laser systems on its fighters.

Components and subsystems were developed by companies Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman.

Starting this year, the U.S. Air Force will begin installing laser systems on its fighters

The US military had planned to deploy laser weapons back in 2015, but faced a host of technical fire control challenges. Even after the installation of the first prototypes this year, their tests will only be completed by 2024..

text: Ilya Bauer, photos and videos: Lockheed Martin

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