The U.S. Navy and Air Force of the next decade could be equipped with laser weaponry that's small enough to outfit fighter jets, considerably bolstering U.S. defense capabilities, according to military reports from the Defense Department.
The significance is this: The 150-kilowatt lasers are an entirely new class of weapon — 10 times smaller and lighter than current laser technology — and would enable a speedier response by fighter jets to threats, according to a report in Tech News Daily. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing the laser as part of its High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System, according to a report on Fox News. These weapons typically defend the United States against rockets, surface-to-air missiles and other weapons that threaten aircraft.
But the new lasers also could go on the offense, Fox News reports, against certain types of ground targets. The Navy, meanwhile, reportedly is hoping to test the 150-kilowatt laser against surface ship targets.
Ground-based training on the new laser is scheduled for 2014, Tech News Daily reports.
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