US Air Force Fighters & Drones Will Fire Laser Weapons by the 2020s

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March 1, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: March 1 on

The Air Force is increasing computer simulations and virtual testing for its laser-weapons program to accelerate development and prepare plans to arm fighter jets and other platforms by the early 2020s.

To help model the effects of such technologies, the service has awarded Stellar Science a five-year, $7 million contract for advanced laser modeling and simulation.

The Albuquerque-based company is expected to continue the work started in 2014, when the Air Force tapped the group to develop computer simulations and virtual testing of directed energy weapons.

Aircraft-launched laser weapons could eventually be engineered for a wide range of potential uses, including air-to-air combat, close air support, counter-UAS, counter-boat, ground attack and even missile defense, officials said.