Star Wars, Star Trek – even Buck Rogers – all have fictional laser beams that can blast enemies to smithereens. And up to now, laser cannons have pretty much remained in science fiction. But now, military researchers and defense contractors may be close to launching actual laser weapons.
It's a new project being developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Defense contractor Lockheed Martin has partnered with Notre Dame University and the Air Force Research Lab to create a high-energy laser weapon for military planes of the not-so-distant future. The future of air combat is changing before our eyes.
This is a potentially game changing development that could go a long way to keeping our military men and women safer in the air. The new weapon is much more advanced than anything that's in use right now.
The lasers passed Air Force and FAA requirements and have been used in some test flights. But, the weapon isn't deployed in use yet because it still has to be tested in situations that are more complex. Those tests will take place over the next year to figure out how well the weapons will actually work.