The US Air Force has awarded a contract worth $26 million to Lockheed Martin for the development and production of a high powered laser weapon that possibly could be mounted on fighter aircraft in the near future.

“Lockheed Martin continues to rapidly advance laser weapon systems and the technologies that make them possible,” said Dr. Rob Afzal, senior fellow of laser weapon systems at Lockheed Martin. “We have demonstrated our ability to use directed energy to counter threats from the ground, and look forward to future tests from the air as part of the SHiELD system.”

“Earlier this year, we delivered a 60 kW-class laser to be installed on a U.S. Army ground vehicle. It’s a completely new and different challenge to get a laser system into a smaller, airborne test platform. It’s exciting to see this technology mature enough to embed in an aircraft,” said Afzal.

“The development of high power laser systems like SHiELD show laser weapon system technologies are becoming real. The technologies are ready to be produced, tested and deployed on aircraft, ground vehicles and ships.” – Lockheed Martin

Featured image of an Air Force weapons crew loading a live GBU-12 guided laser bomb, into an F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base by US Air Force

Air Force weapons crew loads a live GBU-12, a guided laser bomb, into an F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base