Lockheed Martin develops laser weapon turret for aircraft | World Defense

Lockheed Martin develops laser weapon turret for aircraft

Redheart

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Laser weapons on military aircraft moves closer - UPI.com

Lockheed Martin is developing a laser weapon turret for aircraft that will allow the weapon to be fired in any direction.

The prototype turret has been commissioned by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

"The laws of physics say that a laser only can engage targets in front of an aircraft that is travelling close to the speed of sound -- unless atmospheric turbulence can be counter-acted," the company said. "That's exactly what Lockheed Martin has done."

The company's Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control, or ABC, turret has a 360-degree field of regard for laser weapons on an aircraft flying near the speed of sound -- about 768 miles per hour depending on air temperature.

Tests on the turret -- 60 in total -- last year and this year have been conducted using a business jet as a test bed. In the tests a low-power laser was fired through the turret's optical window to measure and verify successful performance in all directions.

Lockheed Martin said its ABC uses aerodynamic and flow-control technology to minimize the impacts of turbulence on a laser beam. A system of deformable mirrors enables the beam to get through the atmosphere to the target.

"This advanced turret design will enable tactical aircraft to have the same laser weapon system advantages as ground vehicles and ships," said Doug Graham, vice president of missile systems and advanced programs, Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

"This is an example of how Lockheed Martin is using a variety of innovative technologies to transform laser devices into integrated weapon systems."

Test results will be used by DARPA and the AFRL to determine the requirements of future aircraft laser weapon systems.
 

Susimi

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I remember reading a book of my dads that came out in the early 90's or late 80's that depicted a 747 airliner with a laser weapon turret on top of it and it seems like they have been developing this weapon for a while.

The question is though, what type aircraft will be able to use this weapon? I mean will fighter aircraft be able to use it in air-to air engagements or will it be used strictly for defence purposes by bigger aircraft?
 

Redheart

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The laser weapon turrets will be installed on all military aircraft — jet fighters, bombers, etc.

US Military Will Install Laser Turrets on Bombers and Fighter Jets
It was science fiction before, but now it's really happening. The US Navy and Air Force are going to install liquid-cooled, solid-state lasers in combat airplanes. Laser turrets designed to defend the planes by shooting incoming threats like surface-to-air missiles and rockets.

The laser weapons will make it a lot harder to shoot down US war planes.
 
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