05 October, 2015 BY: James Drew – FG
Washington DC - Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has not yet seen combat, but already the defence manufacturer is exploring “concepts” for installing and employing a high-power fibre laser weapon on the new-generation combat jet for shooting down missiles and other airborne threats.
The company believes it finally has the right technology to produce modular and scalable fibre laser weapons for trucks, ships and aircraft, and a high-power, 60kW example will enter production for the US Army later this month. The F-35 has been in development since 2001 and only recently was declared fit for combat with the US Marine Corps. However, Lockheed’s Rob Afzal says company engineers are already thinking about how a laser weapon system could fit onto the supersonic stealth fighter and its usefulness in combat. “Absolutely, we’re looking at concepts for the integration of a laser weapon onto the F-35,” the Lockheed senior fellow for laser and sensor systems said at a media briefing 5 October. “We’re also looking at the utility and doing models and calculations so you would understand the utility of a leaser weapon system in the F-35.”