Military Aviation

Video shows F-16s using laser weapons pods to protect KC-46A from enemy missiles

Lockheed Martin in fact is developing Tactical Airborne Laser Weapon System (TALWS) technology to protect warfighters on the battlefield.  

The interesting video in this post features US Air Force (USAF) F-16s protecting a KC-46A Pegasus tanker from enemy missiles by using laser weapons pods.

Lockheed Martin in fact is developing Tactical Airborne Laser Weapon System (TALWS) technology to protect warfighters on the battlefield.  TALWS is aimed to defend against small rockets, artillery shells and mortars, small unmanned aerial vehicles, small attack boats and lightweight ground vehicles that are approximately a mile way. As fiber laser power levels increase, the systems will be able to disable larger threats and do so across greater distances. When operated in conjunction with kinetic energy systems, these systems can serve as a force multiplier.

As we have previously explained, in 2017 Lockheed Martin has secured a $26.3 million contract from the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) to design, develop and produce a high power laser system that will be tested on a tactical fighter jet by 2021.

The contract was part of AFRL’s Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET  YOURS. F-16CM Fighting Falcon 20th Fighter Wing, 77th Fighter Squadron “Gamblers”, SW/94-0044 – Shaw AFB, SC

The SHiELD program includes three subsystems:

  • SHiELD Turret Research in Aero Effects (STRAFE), the beam control system, which will direct the laser onto the target
  • Laser Pod Research & Development (LPRD), the pod mounted on the tactical fighter jet, which will power and cool the laser
  • Laser Advancements for Next-generation Compact Environments (LANCE), the high energy laser itself, which can be trained on adversary targets to disable them

LANCE is designed to operate in a compact environment, and as such, the Lockheed Martin team focused on developing a compact, high efficiency laser within challenging size, weight and power constraints.

Lockheed Martin has more than 40 years of experience developing laser weapon systems. The LANCE contract in fact leverages technology building blocks from internal research and development projects, including the ATHENA system and ALADIN laser, as well as contract experience gained from programs such as the US Army’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) program.

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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