The US Department of Defense (DoD) says it may begin ground-based tests of laser weapons mounted on fighter jets and even drones by 2014.
According to DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the lasers, which would be used to intercept threats to US fighter jets, represents a new class of weapon that is 10 times smaller and lighter than the current class of military lasers.
The above-mentioned laser is slated to be designed and manufactured by General Atomics – Aeronautical Systems Incorporated.
Interestingly, the jet-mounted laser weapon is actually part of DARPA’s High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System, which is primarily targeted at downing rockets, surface-to-air-missiles (SAMs) and other weapons threatening aircraft.
However, the lasers could also potentially be used as an offensive weapon against specific or a limited amount of ground targets.
It should probably be noted that the jet-mounted laser weapons remain a controversial proposal, as a number of military analysts, politicians and engineers do not perceive airborne lasers as a battlefield game-changer.
As TechNewsDaily points out, a recent series of war games held as part of the NeXTech Workshop at the US Army War College determined that laser weapons didn’t seem to make a huge difference in multiple combat scenarios.