Lockheed Martin has delivered to the US Air Force an airborne high-energy laser prototype called AHEL, which will be tested next year on a ground-attack aircraft, the military technology manufacturer reported in release.
The laser must first be integrated with other systems for ground testing and later the complete weapons system can be incorporated into an AC-130J Ghostrider aircraft to evaluate its performance in the air.
As early as 2015, the Air Force Special Operations Command (SOCOM) had announced which would equip the AC-130J with powerful laser weapons.
Although Lockheed Martin does not specify the AHEL’s power rating, the Air Force has repeatedly indicated that it would be about 60 kilowatts. This would be in line with the company’s own statements that this weapon is of “the same class” as the HELIOS laser, developed for the Navy, collects The Drive.
The US also plans to incorporate other laser weapon systems into fighter jets in the middle of this decade.
Lockheed Martin has pledged to equip US warplanes with a promising system called TALWS (Tactical Airborne Laser Weapons System) by 2025. This equipment will be used to destroy air-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft missiles.
The US Air Force is also implementing the tender based on the Self-Protection High Energy Laser Demonstrator (ShiELD) program. The development plan includes three types of laser systems for fighters: target designators, defense lasers and lasers for the destruction of other aircraft.