Air Force to add laser weapons to fighter jets

News

The US Air Force is doing “more with less” when it comes to keeping older-generation fighters in the combat mix, thanks to laser weapons.

The SHiELD, or Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrators, are pod-mounted lasers that can provide sharpened teeth and talons for F-16 “Vipers” and older generation F-15 Eagles, as well as other aircraft.

The USAF is currently testing the devices, which are made by Lockheed Martin on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Utilizing laser technology, the SHiELD gives an added defense for more seasoned USAF combat planes that lack the protection of stealth technology.

According to Popular Mechanics, the pods can be used to shoot down incoming missiles and will be used as an “offensive” defensive countermeasure.

Unlike chaff, flares and jammers, the lasers provide a truly unique system of missile defense.

To add icing to the already sweet laser cake, the SHiELD may also find itself mounted onto A-10s, which in turn could provide a boost of service life for the venerable Close Air Support planes and diminish the criticism of such aircraft being ill-equipped to deal with modern Surface-to-Air Missile threats.

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