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Lockheed Martin Breaks Boundaries of 360-Degree Laser Shooting

When you fly a jet fighter with the speed of sound, the law of physics will not allow you to shoot a laser beam in any other direction than straight ahead. That is not the best idea for a military aircraft of the future, considering enemy airplanes and missiles can come from anywhere. Well, Lockheed Martin has been working on a new laser weapon that breaks this rule.
Called the Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control (ABC) turret, it's been tested using a business jet as a low-cost flying test bed 1 photo
Law of physics may be a bummer sometimes, especially for giant defense system manufacturers that are part of the biggest industry on the planet. We’re spending so much money to find newer and "smarter" ways to kill each other faster and "more efficiently,” it’s almost unbelievable. Spending money is not a problem for the big players like Lockheed Martin, however, who have been around for a long time.

As we said, these natural rules say that a laser can only engage targets in front of an aircraft that is traveling close to the speed of sound - unless atmospheric turbulence can be counteracted. That’s precisely what the company has done in developing a prototype laser turret for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

Yes, the same DARPA that is making those cute robots, which will one day conquer the planet and turn us all into little slaves. What, did you think they spend millions just to entertain Transformers fans? Oh, no. Like it or not, laser weapon systems on tactical aircraft are coming, and you’d better make sure you’re on the right side when that time comes.

OK, leaving aside all the possible jokes that we were able to find on short notice, let us discuss facts for a change. Called the Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control (ABC) turret, this is the first turret ever to demonstrate a 360-degree field of regard for laser weapon systems on an aircraft flying near the speed of sound. Does it work? It has been during nearly 60 flight tests conducted in 2014 and 2015 using a business jet as a low-cost flying test bed.

How does it work, again? “As the aircraft traveled at jet cruise speeds, a low-power laser beam was fired through the turret’s optical window to measure and verify successful performance in all directions.” Feel free to check out further details in the adjacent press release.

-Daddy, what if we don’t have a war to fight anymore?
-There’s always a battle out there.


press release
 
 
 
 
 

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