Laser weapons small enough to fit aboard fighter jets could begin ground-based firing tests aimed at shooting down threats to U.S. military warplanes in 2014.
The 150-kilowatt lasers would represent a new class of weapons 10 times smaller and lighter than current lasers of similar power, according to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The Pentagon agency issued a special notice on Jan. 17 for General Atomics – Aeronautical Systems Incorporated to build a second laser weapon so that both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy could carry out laser tests by 2014.
Such lasers represent part of DARPA’s High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System.
They would mainly aim to shoot down rockets, surface-to-air missiles or other weapons that threaten aircraft during the ground-based field testing scheduled for 2014. But the lasers could also possibly act as offensive weapons against some ground targets.
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