Lasers on planes to be tested by US military


The US military may be testing laser weapons on warplanes as early as 2014.


Ethan Miller

The US military may test laser weapons on planes by 2014.

Scientific American said that the 150-kilowatt lasers would be 10 times smaller and lighter than current lasers, making them easier to fit to planes.

The news comes after the Pentagon issued a special notice for the company General Atomics — Aeronautical Systems Incorporated to build a laser for experiments.

The laser will be tested by both the US Air Force and the US Navy in 2014.

More from GlobalPost: US Defense Department ramps up recruitment for cyber army

Fox News reported that the lasers would likely be used to shoot down rockets, and surface-to-air missiles that might be aimed at other aircraft.

Reports also suggested that the weapons could one day be fitted on drones.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is helping develop the lasers.

Lasers have been tested by the military before. 

In the past, a much larger laser capable of firing one megawatt was fitted onto a Boeing 747 but the program was eventually canceled.

The Navy has already tested the laser weapons against small boats and drones (see video here)

Live Science said that the laser weapons technology faces an uphill battle.

Weather, dust and aerosols all work to limit their effectiveness and make them unhelpful at long distances.