Air Force Says Lasers Will be on Jets by 2020

jet laser system photo

By the year 2020, the military could realistically have lasers mounted on its jets that could blast missiles, drones and even other aircraft out of the skies. In addition to being all “Battlestar Gallactica,” this new technology could even be cheaper to operate than other defense systems.

Of course, there’s no money to be made by saving money amongst defense contractors. Look for these directed-energy weapons pods to be on jets in the next five years, said Air Force General Hawk Carlisle, to the website ArsTechnica. Just don’t expect them to be money savers.

navy laser system image

What the Air Force is hoping to have is laser cannons in the sky, according to ArsTecnica. It reports the Air Force is interested in a 150-plus kilowatt system designed by General Atomics along with DARPA, the military agency that’s developing future weaponry. Called HELLADS, it stands for High-Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System.

The Navy has been testing an experimental laser system in the Persian Gulf since September 2014. The cost per shot is 59 cents and ammunition is infinite as long as the ship’s power and cooling systems are operational.

Of course, laser technology is also finding its way into automotive applications. For years there has been laser cruise control. Toyota used the radar system as the brains behind its adaptive cruise control system.

Audi is also developing laser high beams, pictured above, that work in conjunction with its Matrix LED technology. They’ve been tested at LeMans and are being praised for their ability to provide a more homogenous road illumination.

Image Credit: DARPA

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