• Lockheed Martin was awarded a $26.3 million contract to develop a laser weapon for US fighter jets.
  • The US Air Force plans to test the weapon by 2021.
  • The laser will be used for self-defense against ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons — and possibly more.

Lockheed Martin announced on Monday that it received a $26.3 million contract from the US Air Force to develop a high-energy laser weapon for US fighter jets.

The US Air Force Research Lab plans to test the laser on a fighter jet by 2021, according to a Lockheed Martin press statement.

The deal will be part of the AFRL’s Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator program, which has three subsystems: The beam-control system that directs the laser onto to the target, the pod that powers and cools the laser, and the actual laser.