High-energy laser systems have been the focus of military research for decades. But only in recent years have these technologies reached such a level that it has become possible to install lasers on military equipment and ships. Recently, the first tests of a laser turret installed on the latest aircraft were carried out. Perhaps this will give impetus to the use of laser weapons in military aviation.
Lockheed Martin, in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory and the University of Notre Dame, conducted eight flight tests with a prototype aero-adaptive aero-optical beam steering turret mounted on a transonic aircraft.
The purpose of the tests was to demonstrate the suitability of the beam weapon to provide 360-degree coverage. This makes it possible to hit enemy missiles and aircraft anywhere in the hemisphere. Lockheed says further flight tests will take place over the next year. At the same time, the complexity of the operations performed will grow steadily.
Laser turret prototype
If this development passes all the tests and goes into service, the tactics of air combat will undergo significant changes. However, at all times for any innovative offensive weapon, protection against it was soon invented. Most likely, it will also be with laser weapons.