Lockheed Martin is considering laser weapon concepts for use by the F-35 and other aircraft.

A press briefing in the Netherlands for the F-35 has restarted the rumour mill that the F-35 will be one of the platforms that will eventually feature laser based weapons technology.

The US military and its allies have allocated millions of dollars for directed energy research and development. The US Air Force is pursing laser weapon systems for installation on fighter jets as well as the AC-130J Ghostrider gunship.

The UK also recently announced its interest in demonstrating a directed energy based defence system, similar to Phalanx, for its warships.

Lockheed Martin, Notre Dame University, DARPA and the Air Force Research Lab last year started flight testing a streamlined and miniaturised airborne laser turret.

The turret allows for 360 degree aiming coverage for directed energy weapons that will be flying on military aircraft in the not so distant future and is able to rapidly aim at targets and focus a directed energy burst through the atmosphere at those targets to disable or destroy them.

Lockheed senior fellow for laser and sensor systems said at a media briefing:

“We’re looking at concepts for the integration of a laser weapon onto the F-35. 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.”

General Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, said recently that the US Air Force is continuing efforts to field directed energy weapons:

“I think we’re on the cusp of actually being able to field a true laser weapon within the next five to six years. We’ve got an activity that’s going forward, to put a laser on a fighter aircraft, not to blow up scud missiles or to win in a dogfight, but as an air defence.”

Rumours and speculation are rife but at a time where directed energy based technology is fast being adopted by the military, we can only expect them to become more common.

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4 years ago

If any aircraft will it will be the F-35. I can’t recall the source but I remember reading a few years ago that it can generate more electricity than any other fighter and can create up to 30 kilowatts of excess power, over and above what its own systems demand. That could be useful for quite a powerful laser. In time there will almost certainly be a E-35 with jamming pods like the US Navy’s Growler. It should be able to get closer to target while potentially using much more powerful jammers The existing jammers have a max power output… Read more »

4 years ago
Reply to  joe

The F35 does have considerable EW capability now. And even more in it’s upgrade path. In many ways it exceeds growler already. This uses new AESA technology.

An active defensive system would be a huge advantage
. No need to jam if nobody can touch you.