Science & Technology
DARPA to test out new airborne laser weapon
May 26, 2015 | 7 comments
An artist's mock-up of the HELLADS laser system being used by a fighter jet. Image Credit: DARPA
A sophisticated new laser defence system could soon be making its way on to drones and fighter jets.
Known as the High-Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS), the new weapon has been in development for over a decade and wouldn't look out of place on the Millennium Falcon.
Headed up by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the project's aim was to build a powerful, compact laser that could be used to defend aircraft during missions.
"The technical hurdles were daunting, but it is extremely gratifying to have produced a new type of solid-state laser with unprecedented power and beam quality for its size," said DARPA's Rich Bagnell.
One possible application for the system will be to mount it on the GA-ASI’s new Avenger drone which uses a jet engine that can recharge the laser's battery in-flight thus enabling it to fire indefinitely.
"Enemy surface-to-air threats to manned and unmanned aircraft have become increasingly sophisticated," DARPA wrote on its website. "High power lasers can provide a solution to this challenge, as they harness the speed and power of light to counter multiple threats."
Testing of the new laser system is scheduled to begin in the summer.
Source: Russia Today
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