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  • Lockheed Wants To Add Expensive, New Laser Weapons Technology To The F-35

    Lockheed Martin is considering saddling the F-35 with expensive laser weapons.

    Under contract with the Pentagon, Lockheed is set to deliver a 60-kilowatt fiber laser by late next year to the Army. A fiber laser works by merging beams together which are generated inside fiber optics rather than relying on chemical reactions or crystal components. This allows a lot more flexibility and customization depending on the mission. Supposedly, laser efficiency is set at about 40 percent.

    The laser is apparently at an advanced enough stage that engineers at the company are considering strapping it on the F-35.

    “We are absolutely looking at concepts for integration,” Robert Afzal, the company’s senior fellow of laser systems and sensors, said Tuesday, Defense One reports. Integration still remains at the conceptual stage.

    The main point of the laser would be to ward off enemy aircraft, which stealth features are already supposed to handle. Air Force officials have subtly indicated some level of interest even though the F-35B, the model designed for the Marine Corps, is ready for deployment.

    But Lockheed isn’t the only defense contractor in the laser game. General Atomics has already sent the Pentagon a 150-kilowatt laser, albeit a solid-state one, and is trying to mount a laser on top its Predator C drone.

    The Air Force thinks that airborne lasers will be ready for deployment by 2020. Recent advances mean that the airborne laser program, previously shut down in 2012, is alive and well again.

    “Everybody thinks you have a tendency to talk about high-powered microwaves and lasers and it’s kind of science fiction,” Air Combat Command leader Gen. Herbert Carlisle said at the recent Air Force Association Air and Space Conference. “But this is a reality…I believe that we will have a directed energy capability in a pod that can be mounted on a fighter aircraft very soon.”

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    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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