Future Tech: The Air Force Is Arming Its Jets With Lasers…Finally

Photo: Getty Images

The U.S. Air Force appears to be in the process of developing advances in technology that would make Maverick and Goose feel like Fred Flintsone.

A recently released video shows the impressive master plan the Air Force is hoping for.

Following a look back at the most important moments in USAF tech history, the video’s “Tomorrow” segment shows a glimpse as to what kind of aggressive enhancements they’re shooting for — no pun intended.

Ideas include:

A warhead that, moments after dropping, expands into dozens of unmanned attack drones.



Screengrab: YouTube

A missile that generates large-scale electrical blackouts.

A futuristic F-X jet armed with a high-energy laser beam that can slice through an enemy aircraft like chop suey.



Screengrab: YouTube



Screengrab: YouTube

Watching too much Avengers? Possibly.

But it appears the AF is serious AF in recruiting the right minds to make all of this a reality.

Business Insider reported that Lockheed Martin was given a $26.3 million contract to develop a laser weapon for new Air Force fighter jets last fall. The plan is to test the weapon within three years.

The Army and Navy have been testing lasers for years. According to Popular Mechanics, the AF aircrafts most likely to be armed with any lasers would be the older fighter jets that are most vulnerable in the sky: the F-15C, the F-15E Strike Eagle, and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

You can read more about the project(s) at the Air Force Research Lab.


Josh Helmuth is a sports reporter in St. Louis who contributes to Mandatory.