Home » Aviation » Air Force Seeks Laser Weapons for Next Generation Fighters


Air Force Seeks Laser Weapons for Next Generation Fighters

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This is a Lockheed Martin concept for a sixth-generation concept aircraft to replace the F-22 Raptor. The Air Force released a request to arm its next generation fighters with offensive lasers. Lockheed Martin Illustration

This is a Lockheed Martin concept for a sixth-generation concept aircraft to replace the F-22 Raptor. The Air Force released a request to arm its next generation fighters with offensive lasers. Lockheed Martin Illustration

The U.S. Air Force has released a new request for a high-powered laser weapon that could be mounted on a next-generation air dominance fighter in the post-2030 era.
“The emphasis of this effort is to identify potential laser systems that could be integrated into a platform that will provide air dominance in the 2030+ highly contested Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) environments,” the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) said in a Request for Information document posted on FEDBIZOPPS last week.

The AFRL is particularly interested in lasers that would be at technology readiness level four (TRL4) by October 2014. That means the basic components are already integrated enough to work together in a lab. But the USAF wants the laser to be at TRL5 or better by 2022, which means the system’s components could be integrated with “reasonably realistic supporting elements” to be tested in a simulated environment.

“Laser and beam control systems are being investigated independent of platform in the flight regime from altitudes Sea Level to [65,000ft] and speeds from Mach 0.6 to 2.5,” the AFRL posting states.

The USAF is interested in three categories of lasers. These include low-power lasers for illuminating, tracking, targeting, and denying/defeating enemy sensors. The AFRL is also interested in moderate-power laser protective weapons system, which would presumably eliminate incoming missiles and high-powered lasers for offensive operations against other aircraft or ground targets.

The development of directed energy weapons are an ongoing trend with the Department of Defense. The U.S. Navy has been working on a shipboard solid-state laser that would be demonstrated onboard the USS Ponce (AFSB-(I)-15) in fiscal year 2014 to defend the vessel against threats like small boats.

In the past, the Missile Defense Agency and USAF tested a large chemical laser onboard a modified Boeing 747 to conduct boost phase intercepts of ballistic missiles. Similarly, the USAF tested a chemical-laser weapon from a Lockheed C-130H in 2009. If the AFRL’s project bears fruit, the new laser weapons could find themselves on a next-generation F/A-XX replacement for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

In the FEDBIZOPPS posting, the USAF requests that any companies that are interested in responding to the RFI provide a detailed description of their technologies “in a militarily useful configuration”. The companies are also asked where potential pitfalls might lie and how best to address those.

The AFRL is also looking for a rough cost estimate for developing offensive laser systems.

  • ConstanceUnderfoot

    One big pitfall is that the laser’s also put a bullseye on the shooter.

    • knight2k

      Military lasers usually operate outside the visible spectrum. This is not counting the laser sights on small arms which are colored. High power lasers are normally invisible to the naked eye.

      • Smart Guy

        Chuck Norris uses high powered lasers to trim his bikini line.

        • P_Ang

          …after he karate-kicked Superman into submission…

          • Smart Guy

            knight2k is about to school you on how wrong you are

          • Phillip Rogers

            He seems to know a lot about lasers.

          • knight2k

            I’m a geek, can’t help myself. Science is my church and lasers are my crucifix (That’s self-deprecating humor folks, I’m not bashing religion).

            Honestly, this is stuff I learned in HS. Just basic physics with a little light reading since laser technology interests me and military lasers even more so. That and a little Google can get you all kinds of info. Provided you pay very close attention to what sites that leads you to.

            I may get trolled from time to time, but have to comment when people seem to have the wrong idea about what lasers can and can’t do. I probably should get back to work at some point tho…Bah…where’s the fun in that? lol.

          • Phillip Rogers

            More power to ya in your interest in lasers. I use them on my saw for a straight line and that’s about it. Cops shoot lasers at me to get my speed.

            I find other things much more interesting. God being someone I have found to be much more interesting due to the fact that His mind created the laser and all that we see.

      • Tecumseh1768

        If it’s not in the visible spectrum then how will people see that I bounced the laser bolt back to the attacking jet with my lightsaber. Not cool!

    • Flechette

      But once you see it you are dead.

  • Montgomery Draxel

    Pew pew pew!

  • John Cervini

    Put a mirror on the target to reflect the beam.

    • knight2k

      The mirrors reflective surface would vaporize before it could deflect any amount of the energy. Thanks for playing, try again. High-power lasers are not affected by reflective surfaces. Dust, smoke etc…that’s another story.

      • Smart Guy

        You really showed him!

      • unnamed commentor

        So all the mirrors in the laser lab I worked in were for show? The 4.4MW/m^2 intensity light beam I worked with that walked through steel like tissue paper was reflected by a specular alumina surface coat. I don’t think your theory and reality are aligned properly.

        • knight2k

          …and exactly how precise was that mirror…how long did you have to polish it and keep it free from any particulate matter or smudge. You had to manufacture it to reflect a specific freq and duration. Take your mirror add a slight contamination and watch your laser destroy it. Or take your bathroom mirror and try your laser on it and see what happens.

          You cannot put that precise and clean of a reflective surface on a target and expect it to defeat a weaponized laser. It will burn through it like it isn’t there. Also, was your laser chemical, gas, solid state, etc etc

          Lab work is all well and good but it doesn’t have anything to do with real world effects. The OP was talking about a reflective or mirrored surface on a target. It won’t work. Not now, not ever. Your mirror was calibrated to handle a specific frequency and duration You cannot do that with any target that a military weapon would be used against.

          Even then, mirrors do absorb the energy and the longer a high power beam is held on it (even *if* it could reflect it in the first place) the more likely it is to fail.

          • Smart Guy

            Please delete your reddit accounts and go outside… please…

          • knight2k

            What’s a reddit? :D

          • Eugene Pariah

            Perhaps “Smart Guy” may be conflating reddit and “ribbit”?

          • El Duderino

            That aspect of lasers is why they don’t punch through armor/protection very well — targets don’t sit there and let the beam work their way through.

            In combat, electrolasers and particle beams have much more promise. Electrolasers for hand held / crew served antipersonnel weapons and particle beams for antimissile/antiaircraft/antitank — a few grams accelerated to, say, 1% of the speed of light will end any modern combat vehicle short of a large naval vessel.

          • SGT Scientist

            Of course, the energy required to accelerate a 5 gram particle to .01c is equivalent to about 54 kilotons of TNT, over three times as much energy as was released by Little Boy over Hiroshima, Japan (16 kilotons).

          • NoOneInParticular

            One must also consider what happens to the air in the “tube” of that railgun (particle beam weapon) as that particle is accelerated.
            It cannot get out of the way fast enough and compresses, usually to the point of ignition.
            –from some of the research I have seen–

          • SGT Scientist

            We are working on the rail part of the rail gun. Other people are working on the projectile. The compressional heating of the air in front of the projectile even without being confined in a barrel (i.e. the projectile rides on the rail in the open atmosphere) is quite high.

          • NoOneInParticular

            Telltale signs of rail guns.

            I have seen pictures of others developing them.

          • Jonathan Miller

            What is the system being researched that consists of dropping large tungsten rods on your enemy from space? I read of some such initiative called Rod of God or something similar.

          • NoOneInParticular

            That is the term typically used. “Rod from God”

            It is simply a large somewhat aerodynamic object dropped from orbit. The shear kinetic force would cause a huge explosion.

            The cost, however, is getting that object up there in the first place. (Unless it is harvested from an asteroid)

          • http://Paterzplace.blogspot.com DonM

            Lawn Darts.

          • SGT Scientist

            The company I work for was in on that project, but before I was hired. It’s basically a kinetic energy weapon using gravity as the means of accelerating the projectile.

          • mstrdiver

            What was happening with the barrel interior vacuum system being discussed to reduce / eliminate the air compression issue? Has that idea gone anywhere?

          • SGT Scientist

            I don’t know. We’re not in on that part of the project, and I am actually doing completely different stuff. My projects are rare earth element stuff.

          • El Duderino

            Pish posh! You want to go big you have to step it up!

          • http://Paterzplace.blogspot.com DonM

            Lasers seem to be able to shoot down artillery shells that rotate as they travel through the air (and nutate, but that is enough to start).

          • unnamed commentor

            First, the labs had mirrors that were clean yes.

            Second, the Alumina I spoke of was part of an off axis light ‘glint’ protection system for a concentrated solar electric system. It was to protect the generator package when the solar concentrators’ aiming system locked up and the sun moved thus moving all that focused light onto things other than the generator. The light spot does not move fast and therefore has a significant dwell time (more so than that you would get from a distant targeting system on a fast moving fighter jet), the alumina is left outside and not laboratory clean. The alumina is not selected for a particular frequency due to the nature of sunlight being far infrared to ultraviolet B. The specular alumina did great, this same light beam on a sheet of tungsten cause the tungsten to sublimate.

            If I were to design a shielding system to defend against a high intensity light attack, I would use a specular reflection surface and or an ablative surface with active cooling on the back side. Ultimately you need to reflect the light and shed the heat that is from the absorption of the unreflected light.

            As for your use of the term weaponized; the word means to convert to use as a weapon, it does not mean that it is suddenly better than a similar thing not used as a weapon.

          • mstrdiver

            Basically, the light is so bright I gotta wear shades… off-quoting a song from the past. ;-)

          • Anonymous

            True, while testing would indicate that using reflective surfaces could protect something from lasers, that’s in a laboratory under controlled conditions.

            However, the battlefield is chaotic, and isn’t clean or orderly like the lab. In testing, something may work a certain way, but when it actually matters the performance of anything, be it a weapon or some other piece of equipment, may not work as expected, and in the worst case scenario may not work at all. The PERFECT example of this is guided air-to-air missiles, which when introduced were touted as bringing about the end of dogfighting. Well…the problem was that unlike in testing, in combat over Vietnam these missiles were FAR from reliable; AIM-9 Sidewinders, for instance, would only actually lock onto the target about half of the time, and even then that was no guarantee it would STAY locked on to the target. Even today these missiles aren’t foolproof, which is why fighter aircraft still have guns mounted on them and pilots are still trained in air-to-air engagements at within visual range.

            And besides, a reflective coating, assuming it DOES work for protecting…say…a fighter aircraft from laser weapons, would cause its visible heat signature to skyrocket, making it an easy target for heat-seeking missiles and the like, not to mention making it easier to see when within visual range, which is why they started to paint military aircraft again after not doing so in Korea, in spite of the supposed increase in drag that reduced speed and fuel efficiency.

            Perhaps these mirrors would be effective at protecting something like a fixed installation on the ground, but that’s what GPS-guided bombs are for.

      • J2

        True, but I seriously question there is a lightweight, compact power source to make lasers for a fighter work.

        • NoOneInParticular

          Doesn’t the plane have at least one, usually two, very large power plants providing thrust? Can they not also generate electricity? My car does. No where near the level a jet engine could.

          • http://Paterzplace.blogspot.com DonM

            For a certain definition of ‘very large’. Not for other definitions.

          • J2

            Yes, two very large JETS providing THRUST. Jets are very good at providing Thrust. They do not provide the amount of megajoules a laser would require.

          • XOXO

            Think outside the box. The turbine could be coupled to a magnetic ring and that could easily produce MW of power with the proper setup. Twin shaft turbines are a second possibility and the list goes on. Even an air powered turbine can generate an impressive amount of power if the speed is high enough.

          • NoOneInParticular

            Out of shear curiosity, how many megajoules are we talking?
            4.4MW laser uses, what, 4,400,000 joules/sec (4.4MJ/s)?

            How much power could one siphon off of the rotation of a single jet turbine without significant degradation of thrust output?

            Just queries. Not being snide, nor snarky.

  • cc

    Funny how that looks like the YF-23… LM must be looking for a design that actually works

    • bobby

      I was just gonna say that

    • StevensFolly

      Black Widow lives again!

  • http://i1.cpcache.com/product/323509833/fuck_obama_dark_tshirt.jpg?color=Black&height=460&width=460&qv=90 Ricardo Queso

    In a related story, the Navy has requested sharks with frikkin’ laser beams attached to their heads.

    • velvetjoneslives

      PETA has steps in to block the Navy’s request. The best they can now hope for is some extremely ill tempered Sea Bass.

      • Eugene Pariah

        LOL … hearkens back to a humorous song from long ago — “Wet Dreams”.

      • Jonathan Miller

        Yeah, but they’re Sea Bass with PMS>..

    • J2

      And the Army wants to be issued Laser Cats.

      • John Vermore

        That might be the most dangerous of the three. Cats stalk, hide will, and would then have ranged capability. Of course, they might just use it as a laser pointer and chase it.

        • J2

          Pew Pew Pew!

        • Dave_TX

          Of course, the cat laser is only useful for the 1 hour out 24 that the cat is awake.

          • John Vermore

            But what an hour of fun.

    • Jessie James

      “You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?”

    • Brad

      Sigh. You beat me.

    • Dancquill

      Imagine a Sharknado full of sharks with laser beams!

  • Mili Cyrus

    Red Chinese already hack the plans for the F 22 then ?

    J/K

    Hussein had an F 22 given to China .

  • Wild Hog

    I thought the Raptor was supposed to be the last piloted fighter jet.

    • MadMoto

      ? You mean manned aircraft. Most drones today are still piloted by a human.

      • Wild Hog

        Yes that’s what I meant.

      • http://Paterzplace.blogspot.com DonM

        B-2 has already flown unmanned…

  • Malik Nidal

    12+ years and the entire sustainable trigger-pulling U.S. Military was unable to pacify let alone defeat a rag-tag insurgent force that never topped 20,000 mostly-illiterate shepherds armed with home-made AKs, some old 152mm projos and a little det cord.
    Buy all the fancy planes you want, America.
    Your Our & Proud HOLLOW FORCE hasn’t won a war since 1945.

    • Smart Guy

      Buying a lot of fancy planes ended the Soviet Union…

      • Malik Nidal

        I was there….Ronnie out-spent and out-operationally tempo’d the Rooskies to death.

        • Smart Guy

          i bet you were! How’s your new job as an internet commenter going? changing the world?

          • Malik Nidal

            3AD and ACE Mobile Force, ’83-88

        • Smart Guy

          you seem super smart, I bet a lot of people listen to your expert opinions.

        • ExNuke

          Not really, the Russian politicians were just better thieves and crooks and their country wasn’t computerized and interconnected enough to expose them before they wrecked the place. Ours are working hard to catch up but it takes time to cover your tracks and make sure you can “classify” the evidence.

      • FlyoverGuy

        I thought it had something to do with communism?

      • Tecumseh1768

        They went broke before we did.

        • Smart Guy

          You know who doesn’t go broke? The guys that control every inch of ocean thus control global trade – that’s who doesn’t go broke.

  • Ben

    I believe that the Ponce is not a USS Naval ship but in fact a USNS Naval ship operated by Military Sealift Command

  • Malik Nidal

    Did you all know that Barack Owebama has ordered all new Naveee “warships” to be built without urinals in the head?
    No more urinals in Barack’s HOLLOW FORCE of female and transgendered “sailors”.

  • certbobdobbs .

    Can I request that these lasers be attached to fricken sharks?

  • Robert Muir

    I would like to trade in my 357 and get one please.

  • BusProf

    Use the force Luke…

  • azdiamondbax

    So what. Sharks already frickin’ have them.

  • Flechette

    @ Malik Nidal
    “12+ years and the entire sustainable trigger-pulling
    U.S. Military was unable to pacify let alone defeat a rag-tag insurgent
    force that never topped 20,000 mostly-illiterate shepherds armed with
    home-made AKs, some old 152mm projos and a little det cord.
    Buy all the fancy planes you want, America.
    Your Our & Proud HOLLOW FORCE hasn’t won a war since 1945.”

    —–

    I’d have to disagree. The Korean war was effective in keeping the South
    free, and pressing into N.Korea had the result of a Sino-American War
    that almost went nuclear. Despite resulting in a split Korea I am sure
    the S.Koreans are grateful.

    The Vietnam War was a mess, and it is
    fair to say we “lost”. But it wasn’t due to our armaments or our
    “hollow” military; it was due to a complete and total incompetent White
    House (LBJ and McNamara) and a obviously leftist media spewing left-wing
    propaganda.

    And yes, I mean “propaganda”. It wasn’t until I was
    in college that I learned the specifics of the Tet Offensive and that
    the Viet Cong was largely *eliminated*. Not just “defeated”, but
    *eliminated*. Even even Ho Chi Mihn stated that it was a major victory
    for the U.S. and that he was prepared to surrender. It was only lefty
    media spin that made it a “defeat” for the U.S.

    The U.S. military is not “hollow”. It just needs to be backed up politically. It’s greatest weakness is our Fifth Column.

    • John Vermore

      I agree, the Tet Offensive main aspect of victory was the total surprise of the attack. They were set back many years in terms of their guerrilla warfare development. The U.S. tends to have an attitude that if we are surprised, then obviously we did something wrong. While this can be true, it is not necessarily true as an adversary can generate surprise by limiting indicators of his capability and intent.

    • Mikey

      Technically speaking we did “win” the Vietnam war. We bombed the North until they came to the negotiating table and signed a peace accord. Is it our fault they broke that treaty after we left the country?

      • BMF

        The answer is yes. We did not live up to the agreement to defend South Vietnam if attacked.
        The SETO treaty was still in effect when North Vietnam invaded. The treaty had a clause that an attack on one was considered an attack on all; and the other members would come to their aid.
        We may have been war weary, but the fact is we did not honor our treaty commitment.
        Unfortunately, bombing strategic targets within North Vietnam came about 10 years too late to end the war permanently.

    • http://Paterzplace.blogspot.com DonM

      I will note that the peace agreement documented that the NVA had lost. After the US left, the South Vietnamese were hung out to dry by a Democratic Congress, and was defeated by a NVA invasion. Our ally Canada served in the peacekeeping force, as did Poland and India.

    • C. D. Carney

      I’m going to add my statement and let those who may laugh while covered in bloody rain- 6717 American soldiers since 2001 dead,176,000 terrorists dead in Iraq alone. Who won what now? Attrition yourselves!

    • Little Franks

      I see you blame Mara as incompetent. Not sure you realise just how defeated the VC was. For anyone who wants to know all you need know is that by the time the VC had retreated into Laos the Public in the USA had made it near impossible to justify a War on a Second Front. At this point it was considered political Suicide to allow US forces to pursue on foot the VC to the border of China. Instead they just allowed China and Laos to maintain a false neutral state and conducted operation MENU a secret bombing campaign. This was largely a response to Communist incrementalismness that follows constant attack and retreat and temporary cease fire observance which leads to structure fatigue awareness in target acquisition. They really used that Art of War book to stretch the patience of the US forces to the maximum. Though like I have said before time and again it was the body count that really had the maximum effect not the burning communists glazed in Napalm. When you look at the count its simply hard to overlook the fact that there was 1 million injured US Troops. Thats alot of care needed, thats alot of dangerous Vets, thats alot of pensions and in communities it brought to the front of everyone ones minds the full truth about the horror of War. Compare that now to the Drone War in Pakistan. No one gives a damn because the only fatalities are the enemy and sometimes some innocents. Thought thats clearly not nearly as bad as the protests against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars which attracted high level trauma amongst the troops. And its not like its heavily reported numerically however its believed to be proportionally similar a situation to Vietnam, just on a smaller scale. But back in the Vietnam days you did not have the public address abilities that you have now. As far as it goes when you loose over 1 million highly motivated units to an enemy force you really do have to start to wonder how much longer you can remain on the offensive. This is why they retreated into Laos. Its not like they were finnished though as we later found out. The VC alone still had 14 Million People well over half of which were males and about 2.5 million would probably have been fit for combat. Not to mention they had support from China and Russia. I think China talks about it now in terms of NK and how they just dont like the idea of having so many refugees pouring over into China, and Vietnam was probably the revelation that led to that. I do recall China having to use the Military to Close its border with Vietnam when the war ended. hahaha.

      The result in any case is pretty bad. Bombs still go off now in Laos and people are still suffering as a result of it all. But if you wanna blame people you need to look more closely at McCain, Wheeler and Abrahms whom worked closely with Kissinger and that fool of a douche Nixxon.

    • Ed_Stark

      The US military has never lost a war. We have politicians and a spineless media to make that happen for us.

    • Roger leckington

      Amen

  • rkb100100

    I smell another obscene waste of money. Cost-plus-plus-plus Contract!

    Remember: The people writing these requirements are not on the hook for anything including budget.

  • Paul Alves

    pew pew

  • B-Dazzle

    If we rap our entire plane with mylar and tissue paper – the enemy will be distracted long enough for you to smite him/her with our kid gloves. If we used confetti bombs the lasers would be totally rendered harmless, said Iran’s Supreme Leader.

  • dschwarpa

    Sorry, I’ll take exploding ordinance over light any day.

  • J2

    In all seriousness, I thought the “next generation fighter” was going to dispense with onboard human pilots. Human tolerances to G-forces is what is holding back progress on tactical performance. Going forward, I expect our next gen fighter to be piloted like a drone.

    2nd problem, as I see it, is that there is no power source for a militarized laser that is compact enough and lightweight enough to fit on a fighter. The experimental anti-missile lasers deployed now fill a 747 fuselage.

    3rd problem, as I see it, is that the Obama Regime is too evil to be given any new powerful weapon systems.

    • LukeJohn

      Maybe but it was not that many years ago that we thrilled to see 1MB on a single SIMM chip that cost only $50 – A Gb worth of those would have filled a room and cost $50,000 – now you can buy a 64 Gb SD card hardly bigger than your fingernail that costs well under $100.

  • BusProf

    Will this thing roast the geese before they are sucked into the engines?

    • J2

      Hmmm…..Is there such a thing as leading the target when you fire speed of light weapons?

      • NoOneInParticular

        Not much

      • tredshift

        No, unless the target is moving at a truly ENORMOUS Speed , they might as well be standing still. The speed of light in a vacuum is a bit over 186,000 miles a SECOND, air would have a minuscule effect on that speed.

  • LaQueesha Shaniqua O’Malley

    Wonder how long it will take before the heathen Chinee have stolen plans for any plane submitted for evaluation.

    Been wondering if it was the same programmers….out of work with the Defense Dept., that designed Our Dear Leaders healthcare disaster.

    • daveinlaurel

      It was designed by friends of Michelle.

  • Animedude5555

    Finally we will have real scifi weapon technology! I’ve always hoped to see this day!

  • Jebrolis

    It has been discussed among defense folks that the next gen fighters would be unmanned so the speed and altitude limits could be attained !

  • Malik Nidal

    Carter’s HOLLOW FORCE is back!
    …this time, it’s gay and transgendered, too!!
    LEAN FORWARD

  • Dallas_Guy

    Outstanding! The bad guys will be dead before they even realize there’s a radar lock.

  • Werbil

    This is nice, but there is something really satisfying about large explosions. I doubt I’ll switch.

  • Smargalicious

    Hopefully the flaming homosexuals and rabid atheists in the Air Force can operate this…

    • NoOneInParticular

      Is that all that make up the Air Force, sir?

      • Malik Nidal

        It’s Air Farce, sir.

        • NoOneInParticular

          Be careful where you throw your jibes. We may not be enemies.

          I am prior service USAF and neither a flaming homosexual nor a rabid atheist.

          I commend you on your prior service, sir.

  • Smargalicious

    The Air Force doesn’t need human pilots anymore…just drone operators.

  • Ron

    We are deploying F-22 now,what about F-35? Now they are tellin us about the next generation fighter,WTF! What awaste of money! We are indeed sheep.

    • FlyoverGuy

      Yeah! You mean that we’re buying a new generation of fighters every 30 years? That’s outrageous!

  • Ramome

    This reminds me of the Gilligan’s Island episode where Ginger, Mary Ann, and Mrs. Howell are standing around by the castaway’s Out House smoking cigarettes and trash talking that fat cracker everybody called the Skipper. The professor and Gilligan are strolling along holding hands and noticing how nice the weather is, when Ginger pulls up and cold c o c k s the professor dead in the grill. She starts fist pumpin and hi fivin the other hoe’s when Gilligan pulls a wrist rocket and plants a 7.2mm seashell clear through her double D coconut bra. The bee-atch patrol was shy a hoe for several episodes needless to say.

  • Malik Nidal

    Yet, in REAL combat, Owebama’s HOLLOW FORCE of little girls and homosexuals doesn’t fair too well.
    12+ years in Afghanistan and the insurgency (a rag-tag force that never topped 20,000 illiterate shepherds with small arms) controls 95% of the countryside.
    & Owebama’s HOLLOW FORCE can’t walk outside the walls of their fire bases without getting their Out & Proud butts shot off by those 20,000 shepherds.

  • Yirmin

    all a foreign power needs to do to defeat a laser weapon is use reflective panels. And god forbid they direct the beam right back at the plane that was using it. What a pointless waste of money.

    • tredshift

      Not really…unless it’s basically a PERFECT Reflector….and it won’t be, a Powerful Laser will burn right through it

      • Yirmin

        Even a very imperfect reflector will disrupt the ability of the laser to do its job. scattering light in every direction some of which will likely be the eyes of the pilot firing the laser. Because unlike a missle that can be fired from behind the horizon line, a laser will have to be a line of sight weapon. The military has been watching too many James Bond movies and now they want the taxpayers to pay for their toys.

    • George Johnson

      TMM. Too Many Movies.

  • Malik Nidal

    Yet, in real combat, Owebama’s HOLLOW FORCE couldn’t get to Benghazi…8 hours and not one shiney zoomie bird over head!
    When I served, we could have put the entire 325th PIR of the 82nd on that consulate ground in less than 4 hours…an entire regiment, including the only Ranger Battalion permanently deployed overseas in peace time. The ACE Mobile Force.

  • Some Dude

    This will never happen. Dreams can abound, but the wallet won’t.

  • vincedc

    What happens if it rains?

    • George Johnson

      Steam! We come full circle.

  • Piquerish

    Pretty sure China will build them for us if we ask nicely.

  • Tea32

    Obama, being the niggard that he is when it comes to military spending, will most certainly cut funds for this type of program, while increasing funds for food stamps to be exchanged by ghetto individuals for malt liquor and cigarettes.

    • Geoff

      I saw what you did there…

    • C. D. Carney

      Nah, he just reneged on the deal :P

      • AToTheK1

        Well played, sir.

  • Charitas

    Interesting, but I doubt a mach 2.5 warplane is needed to deliver a speed of light weapon.
    All that is needed is a large fleet of C-47s, unbolt Puff, install the laser.
    OK it’s not quite that simple but the principle is understandable.

    • FlyoverGuy

      Lasers and sensors to detect the enemy will always have limited range and therefore good-guys will still need some combination of speed, manueverability and stealth to avoid the bad-guys’ weapons, which will include missiles and guns for the foreseeable future.

      Lasers will be just one component of the battle.

      We still use tanks although there are weapons that can destroy tanks. And the Army likes their tanks to be fast and well armored — all else equal — even though it would be much cheaper to simply mount the guns on trucks.

      I doubt very much that putting them on C-47s will make much sense.

      • Charitas

        Quite right you are, however another solution is to have a higher population of more conventional platforms to compensate for the lack of speed simply to deploy the weapon system and find out if a more sophisticated platform is needed. I thought it was clear my that my suggestion of using C-47′s was for concept sake just a hyperbole.

        • FlyoverGuy

          Yeah, I didn’t take you literally.

          The combination of weapons characteristics and cost is usually extensively war gamed long before acquisition.

          I think that it would be difficult to find many examples of a truly inferior technology that won with numbers in the real world.

          Of course, cost and numbers do matter.

          One example that is often cited is allied fighters vs German jets near the end of WWII. But the numbers gap was enormous and the quality gap was real and significant in some ways, but much less significant in many ways that counted. Generally, the fight was won almost entirely when the German jets were at a disadvantage, when they were on the ground, taking off, landing or trying to get altitude.

    • E Pluribus Chaos

      I’ll volunteer my Cessna 172 to prototype it.

  • Woblocc

    Where does the power for such a system come from? Are we going to start putting mini-nuke reactors in fighter planes. Or is it a one-shot, that’s it kind of system?

    • PainInMyASS

      harvest the wind power passing through the turbine engine to then power a generator that charges a battery system the then just augments the power needed to power the laser?

      • NoOneInParticular

        Why not just add electromagnets to the turbine?

        Save some of the loss in conversion.

        • PainInMyASS

          even better. lets start an R&D weapons company.

          • E Pluribus Chaos

            It’ll be powered by the nuclear fusion from Neil Sedaka records and cute fuzzy baby bunny rabbits.

          • PainInMyASS

            Chaos, you will not be invited in as a working partner for the new labs of Pain in Particular Weapons Research LLC.

          • E Pluribus Chaos

            Was it the bunny rabbits?

          • PainInMyASS

            Tell ya what, get the bunny rabbits to dance as a cooridinated group to the Neil Sedaka, we can start a whole different venture.

    • George Johnson

      The problem isn’t “energy” so much, as it is “energy density”, or storage. Think, some high value capacitors, driven by lower power systems. Just store that power over a segment of time, and there’s your energy.
      The problem becomes, how fast can you shoot? Once per hour?

  • Brad

    Will there be fricken sharks with fricken laser beams attached to their heads?

  • Mili Cyrus

    WTf is a majumadar ?

    • NoOneInParticular

      Just guessin’ . . . a surname?

  • E Pluribus Chaos

    Somewhere… Ernst Blofeld is rejoicing.

  • MidAmerica2

    The battlefield of the future is going to be really boring if all we get is the light show but no rock band to play along.

  • FAGATRON

    Ohh! The latest weapons of mass destruction for the Evil Doers of Amerikkka!

    • George Johnson

      Really? A LASER is a weapon of mass destruction? Wow. Who knew! (certainly not you)

  • Larry Fyne

    These type weapons are already available to our military. Who’re they kidding by putting this out? The general public needs to do some research on their own. A lot of credible voices out there if you just look & listen.

  • Breandan

    I am all for the Air Force finally developing and fielding directed energy weapons. Problem is, the government put the kabosh on the development of anymore 5th gen fighters (while the Russians and Chinese are happily building them as fast as they can), so 6th gen fighters are a pipe dream in the current political climate.

    • Racerx03

      The F-22 is the ONLY 5th Gen fighter on the planet right now, the Chinese and Russian don’t possess the materials technology to field a true 5th gen fighter, yet. They have prototypes, but, no true 5th gen capability.

      • George Johnson

        Well, none that is their own, none that they actually understand to the point of actually being able to use it effectively. But they’re there. Trust me. They’ve stolen everything from us. That’s why they can’t USE it. They don’t really “understand it” to the point of being able to use it.
        Look at china, their next gen fighter, is almost an exact copy of ours. But they have so many problems with it, because it’s a COPY and they don’t understand it. Russia’s too, looks VERY similar to ours. TOO similar, it’s a copy.

        • Racerx03

          I agree, i have no doubt they have the plans, specs, ect. but they can’t produce anything like what have, they don’t have the necessary materials to make the skin for instance, it looks like what we have but that’s it. in addition we have AESA radar and HMD (helmet mounted display) systems, things that make flying a 5th gen fighter possible

  • Itstoolate

    They can put up photos of barry for target practice, and laser his arss…

  • Racerx03

    Well the 5th gen stealth (F-22) has been canceled, why? becuase there is a hypersonic plane on the horizon, speed is the “new” stealth. as these vehicles travel faster, missles cannot keep up, only directed energy weapons will be available to meet the threats in the 21st century. I suggest you take a look at the History Channel’s “Dogfights of the Future” episode. It lays out a scenario of exactly this type.

    • Malik Nidal

      And, still the fact remains, your entire sustainable trigger-pulling military has been defeated on the ground by a rag-tag insurgent force that never topped 20,000 mostly-illiterate shepherds armed only with home-made AKs, some old Soviet-era projos and a little det cord.
      Your cutting edge technology hasn’t won a war since ’45.

      • Racerx03

        First, which war have we lost? Vietnam? I think you’re talking about Afganistan? Last I checked we haven’t been defeated…I think you’re a little confused, you see the politcians run the war, if they unleashed our military without any conditions like in WWII, guess what? Poof, no more shepherds, AKs or Det cord…besides, how many World Wars has your country won? 0

        • Malik Nidal

          Pehaps, a better question is how many empires has Afghanistan defeated?

          Ask the Brits and Russians how they did. So, you’re not alone in having been defeated by the Afghans.

          Those 20,000 illiterate shepherds with their home-made AKs control 95% of the country.

          Your Our & Proud HOLLOW FORCE can’t leave their fire bases without getting their butts shot off.

          You’ve been defeated, sweetie.
          Again.
          Deal with it.

          • Mikey

            The fact that we follow the rules of war and they don’t is the ONLY reason why those “shepherds” haven’t been carpet bombed into oblivion.
            Keep spouting your nonsense, but you aren’t fooling anyone.

          • Malik Nidal

            In war there can be no substitute for victory.
            The Afghans live by this rule.
            America has forgotten it.

          • Racerx03

            Gee I see the weather is 45 and heavy mist in Tehran, i guess sitting at the computer spouting nonsense seems like the only thing to do. have a nice day!

          • George Johnson

            Um… nobody really WANTS afghanistan. There’s NOTHING there. It’s landlocked.

            It’s not about afghanistan. You don’t even get the point.

            Can you even state the goal of being there? I’m betting, you can’t, not without looking it up.

          • daveinlaurel

            Actually, there are $trillions worth of raw materials there. The Chinese are contracting for it as we discuss.

      • Mikey

        Yawn. I love it when we get a military history lesson from someone that has zero knowledge of military history…

      • NotHereEither

        While we put ourselves in front of woman and children, these towel-heads hide behind them. Take away ROE (rules of engagement), and these two-digit IQ having tards will be gone tomorrow…

        • Malik Nidal

          I love hearing the losing team talk about how “if only…”

          • NotHereEither

            Says the numb-nut who hides behind their keyboard while criticizing others…

          • George Johnson

            Why, it’s true. It’s not the technology that’s hampering us, it’s the ROE generated by “armchair generals” in the white house and congress. Oh heaven forbid, somebody should actually get hurt while we try to destroy the enemy.
            in every case, we’ve had to hold back. Korea, to keep china from attacking (more than they were, we drove them back anyway. But that’s kind of a moot point, since it was still basically the same military as WWII). Vietnam was about the same thing, can’t attack their infrastructure, or the Chinese may get upset, the russians too.
            Now it’s just mostly, “don’t hurt anybody!” In the mean time, russia had no such rules, and they were driven out also.
            Given the green light, we could wipe out every living creature in afghanistan, (without nukes or chemicals) but that’s not the point now is it?

          • daveinlaurel

            “All things considered, total war is the most humane.” – von Clausewitz

      • George Johnson

        Actually, we’ve been defeated from within by communist in the white house. The soviet union dreamed about bringing us down, and apparently, they have, just 50 years later than they planned on.

      • DeadWhiteMan

        Uh, no, Muzzie, they didn’t defeat us. We controlled Afghanistan when we wanted to, and the only thing that was left was a pacification effort. And pacification isn’t difficult if you have the will. For instance, catch a group of violent Mohameddans, shoot all but one after dousing them in pig’s blood, and then let the remaining one go so he can tell his friends. Problem solved.

        Anyway, we could turn the whole country to glass if we wanted to in minutes. so count your blessings.

        • daveinlaurel

          Murder is unacceptable. The more acceptable approach would be to bury the enemy dead in pigskin body bags, then release one of the prisoners after he watches the burial.

  • t from NJ

    What is that warm sensation I am feeling today?

  • BusProf

    I am sure Sam Sung or Elle Gee already has one of these.

  • Bathgems

    By then the air force will be moot because of the continued development of guided missile and offensive ground based lasers. Israel did a proof of concept with its Iron Dome system. Anything that flies will be able to be knocked out of the air.

    • Troy Emge

      Yawn. Same thing was said when Soviet anti aircraft missiles shut down the Israeli Air Force for a few days. Doctrine was adjusted and the IAF once again resumed offensive operations. You’re severely under thinking things if you think anything short of overwhelming numbers of MIRVed ICBMs armed with thermonuclear warheads is a magic bullet weapon.

  • DJ

    awe man just when I was getting used to life imitating The Fifth Element…now I have to switch to The Terminator!! LOL maybe Arnold would be better in office (just kidding). I think the gov are all secretly little boys wanting to be the masked villain hahaha!! Seriously, too funny (in a bad way).

  • Malik Nidal

    Obama’s HOLLOW FORCE military of out homosexuals and little girls has been stalemated and defeated on the ground by <20,000 illiterate shepherds with home-made AKs.
    Seems the sandal wearers have defeated the boys in boots, once again.
    Buy all the lasers you want.

    • George Johnson
  • rocky

    With what Bath House Barry has done with the military, the air force may wish to paint the fighters pink and have tutu’s for seats.

  • RHO1953

    Meanwhile we are cutting everywhere else. Our tank drivers can’t get training time in real tanks so they do it in a simulator, we are cutting the Navy and reducing the number of ships.

  • WhoCanYouTrust

    Ok so the F22 was put to the side because it was too expensive in place of a coalition fighter… Now you want laser beams? So you gonna ask china for the money cause we don’t have it?

    • Jim Rall

      The F-22 was not expensive in the way you mean it. It’s price was directly related to the number of aircraft ordered…Oboob… cut back so up goes the price.

  • http://obbop.wordpress.com/ obbop

    No cost of wealth or human lives is too great to ensure the continued existence of the USA elite class and monolithic corporate entities.

  • philstacy

    Well the air force better start sucking up to the illegal aliens who will likely be the controlling voting block after amnesty and immigration reform.

  • TruthDetector

    Wrong; laser systems must be retrofitted to existing delivery systems and thoroughly field tested before ramp up to full deployment, especially on untested aircraft.

    De-classified

  • toms

    What, no photon torpedoes?

  • Igetitalready

    Anyone think it may be better to wait a few years so as to ensure the blue prints for any newly designed laser weapon are not “accidentally” dropped out of the window of Air Force 1 while flying over say, Iran?

  • enos33

    Have the screw-ups who designed ObamaScare to make these new weapons That’ll make sure they don’t work and cost 20 times the contract price. Then to fix the multiple problems, they’ll be paid even more of our money. Seems good to me.

  • SoloWingPixyX

    Whoa…We’re going Ace Combat Zero for real!

  • Alex Bohacheff

    Just remember, we have our “rules of engagement” to protect our enemies. A fifteen page document to prevent our armed farces from accidentally harming unengaged targets. The HP laser would never be fired unless ample warning was given. GOD help us if we got into a real shooting war with the Russians. We wouldn’t fire the first round until John F-ing Kerry signed off and got O’Blunder off the golf course for a photo OP giving the order to end the world. I would like to know how they solved the low altitude scattering problem for naval combat weapon systems. Lasers can be used for targeting. As far as offensive???

  • Johnson_Grande

    You must choose. The world’s greatest military and the security it can bring to the extent achievable – OR – Euro-Stye Social Welfare.

    We cannot afford both and probably cannot even afford our current status quo. No amount of delusion or wishful thinking is going to change this equation.

    Choose wisely – there is a big bag world out there with dwindling resources and people far, far more ruthless than the soft, dumbed down crybabies that pass for society today…

    • Jim Rall

      Actually with the current aircraft mission that we’ve been seeing we cold use P-51 Mustangs for close air support… (heat seekers don’t work that well against ICE exhaust pipes)… with the current smart bombs we could even use B-25′s from WW II. Why am I use WW II prop jobs as an example… because they would cheap by the thousands about two mil each, compared to from 20 to 60 mil for one.

      • Natronic

        I think our reliance on technology could be our eventual downfall

        • Ralph Schmidt

          i think you’re both nuts.

      • Bruiser in Houston

        Rather than the P-51 I was thinking the Douglas A-1 Skyraider. Four 20mm autocannon, 15 hardpoints that carried up to 8,000 pounds of ordnance.

        The Skyraider was optimized for ground attack. It was armored, unlike the Mustang or Corsair.

        It wouldn’t take much to upgrade it with more recent technology but still keep it easy to manufacture.

  • Disvox

    Laser beams won’t cut it. Use particle beams and you’ll have a viable weapons system.

    • Alan Dryer

      It’s most likely a generic term.

  • lastmann

    I think nukes are cheaper, and they make third world despots get in line quicker

  • seemorejustice

    When are the ‘X-Wing’ fighters arriving? And will they shoot red or blue laser shots?

  • Jim Rall

    I get a kick out of this stuff… where is the power coming from? I know what I’m talking about. The ABL 747 requires some serious hardware and material to produce a damaging beam…. so unless they’re using a Thorium Reactor or something similar I don’t see this.

    • J2

      Exactly! Thank you.

  • Alan Dryer

    Okay, we have all but cancelled the Raptor and are talking about a replacement? I’m still trying to get over the defunding of current production, so don’t give me this crap about the future replacement. If we can afford the money to spend on future development, it should be spent on the Raptor. If we can’t fund the present, then why waste time on the future? Raptors are awesome and we should focus on what we already have. We shouldn’t throw money at this, until we are in a position, where we can afford to replace our aging fleet, with Raptors AND spend money on development of a future fighter. Ever heard of putting the cart before the horse?

  • AToTheK1

    Sorry, but unless I can actually SEE a laser beam destroying something, like in the movies, it’s boring.

    • Nbr 1

      May be “boring”, but it’s not a movie. The object of the exercise is not to amuse you.

      • AToTheK1

        Yes. Yes it is.

  • jmmy

    And now for my master plan. to blow up the Moon!!!!

    • Bruiser in Houston

      I call it The Alan Parsons Project!

  • thebigdog

    The clueless Democrats will try to use laser technology to remove that unwanted hair on the thighs of Muslim terrorists.

  • waitaminutedoggy

    We need a shiny new war chariot, who cares if Rome is in it’s decline.

  • Malik Nidal

    Owebama’s HOLLOW FORCE Out & Proud military can buy all the lasers they want with fabricated QE3 fiat currency and more unpayable debt.
    What the entire sustainable trigger-pulling U.S. military could NOT do was defeat even a rag-tag insurgent force that never topped 20,000 mostly-illiterate tribal shepherds armed with little more than home-made rifles, some old Soviet projos and a little det cord. Pathetic.

    • Bruiser in Houston

      But we killed off a few hundred thousand of them…

      • BDPSU

        Which did nothing.

    • Mudpuppy

      That’s because the weren’t allowed to what with the idiotic Rules of Engagement they were saddled with. Prosecuting Marines for doing their job, not targeting mosques where the barbarian savages would hide in and shoot from, banning troops from farting in the presence of Afghans, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum, ad absurdum. We should (and could) be laying waste to those blood-thirsty scum if the “leadership” wasn’t so concerned with not offending Muslims. I don’t care if they get offended. They offend at the slightest perceived insult, so to repeat a famous quote (paraphrasing): “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

      • togobeyond

        It doesn’t matter if the U.S. kills off all the insurgents they will always be there that’s like trying to kill all the cockroaches in a public housing complex all you can do is keep them down. The real goal in Iraq and Afghanistan was to set up two new governments the U.S. can deal with.

        • Mudpuppy

          Unfortunately, that is true. The only way to keep them down is to stay there forever and that is unacceptable. We should have kicked butt and then left. You can’t nation-build a bunch of savages. Right now, we are trying to conclude an agreement with the corrupt government of Afghanistan which will keep us there for at least 10 more years. That’s ridiculous and will only lead to more American deaths. Doesn’t matter when we leave, they will just resume killing each other, something I have no problem with. Better they kill each other than us.

    • togobeyond

      “What the entire sustainable trigger-pulling U.S. military could NOT do
      was defeat even a rag-tag insurgent force that never topped 20,000
      mostly-illiterate tribal shepherds”

      That was never the objective in Iraq or Afghanistan.The objective was to replace both governments with those that were favorable to U.S. interest and control in the regions.That has been done. The war on terror is a farce and an excuse. The 20,000 mostly-illiterate tribal shepherds are basically target practice for the U.S. military industrial complex and a side line for the sustainable trigger-pulling U.S. military “as you put it”. They will never take those governments back they are run and owned by the U.S. now. The U.S. needs willing targets to try out its newest weapons what fools likes sheep to the slaughter.

  • Mark Anthony Taylor

    The main use for these lasers is blinding enemies, rather than burning holes in steel, which is still Buck Rogers territory.

  • Bruiser in Houston

    Is Lockheed Martin poaching from Northrup? Their new design looks suspiciously like the Northrup F-23 (Black Widow/Gray Ghost) concept. Add wingtips and violá.

    I wonder which Einstein in the air force came up with the idea of lasers? Adding something as complex as a laser system (not the same as a light pointer) to an aircraft and have it OPERATE in all conditions sounds like a prescription for error. Go with things that work and are less complex: missiles and cannon. KISS principle.

    • AZWarrior

      Easily defeated with mirrored surface.

  • OBAMA_IS_SATANIC

    We need a Laser system that will lock on to Liberals and destroy them, POOF!

    • BDPSU

      We have it, it’s called “logic”.

  • BDPSU

    Why don’t you worry about getting the POS F-35 to work before you start thinking about this sci-fi stuff?

    • Nbr 1

      Ever heard the saying about putting all your eggs in one basket?

  • BDPSU

    We should be trying to make things as simple and as effective as possible – not so complicated that it’s almost impossible to get them to work. Never mind the maintenance required. The F-35 should have taught them a lesson, but of course it hasn’t.

    What good are high-tech weapons if they’re not reliable and they’re so expensive you can only afford a few of them?

  • tim g

    Why is all this laser stuff not being kept top secret?

    • Don Prime

      Because laser tech has been around for about 20 plus years in the military. Laser tech in itself has the same basics of function

    • philstacy

      It will probably have to be made in China to save on costs.

  • thetruthmaster1

    Don’t they know it is ILLAGAL to shine a Laser Light into another cockpit? lol You could get a hefty Prison term for that naughty act. This is your last warning!!

  • J2

    This thread deletes any comments critical of He-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named over at 1600 Pa. Ave. So much for Freedom of Speech.

  • Itso Ashkee

    The problem with these next generation fighters is that they come with a price tag of over a billion dollars a copy. That’s ridiculous.

  • philstacy

    America is being conquered by foreign Hispanic invaders who are not interested in science, space exploration or military capability. Catholic churches will be built instead. Note that the generals are already being terminated.

  • AZWarrior

    No more overpriced, underperforming manned combat aircraft. Autonomous Combat Air Vehicles (A-Cavs) are the only affordable option beyound the F-35 debacle.

  • Boydesian

    It would be interesting to see how they plan to fit an adequate power source for an effective laser weapon into something as small as a fighter airframe. Even if they could I’m still not convinced such a platform is very practical.

  • BenderIsGreat

    What’s next, AT-ATs for the Marines?

    Please say it’s AT-AT’s for the Marines.

  • Cameron Stapel

    Nice idea, except we are getting our ass’s handed to us by street fighters! Who are we going to use these cool weapons on, Iran or Russia (they are our friends now) or China who is well on their way to owning use, or could it be “we the people”?

  • philstacy

    Why is there a cockpit? The future is drones.

  • mike

    oh look the future replacement of the F-22 looks exactly like the F-22′s competitor the YF-23 from Northrop… hmmmm

    • Babylonandon

      Only very vaguely. It more looks like a squashed composite of the two.

  • http://www.heavy-tungsten.com/ Alex Capten

    Such a very brief information about the laser weapons used by air force. I am so much interested in that kind topic. I also heard about tungsten sheild also can used for set your target .