Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Air Force blasted missiles out of the sky with a frickin' laser beam that could one day arm fighter jets
The U.S. Air Force successfully shot down multiple missiles with a laser weapon that could eventually defend fighters and other aircraft against existing and emerging missile threats.
The Air Force's Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program is developing a new directed-energy weapon on a pod that could be used to protect U.S. aircraft from surface-to-air missiles and air-to-air missiles.
The program recently achieved an important milestone when a ground-based unit eliminated multiple air-launched missiles during testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the Air Force announced Friday.
The Demonstrator Laser Weapon System tested recently appears to be a proof-of-concept testing asset
The Demonstrator Laser Weapon System, which acted as a ground-based test surrogate for the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator system Air Force Research Laboratory during the series of tests at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., April 23, 2019.(U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory photo)
The final SHiELD weapon will be smaller, lighter, and more suited to use in a harsher airborne environment, according to the Air Force, and the recent test was a step in the right direction.
"The successful test is a big step ahead for directed energy systems and protection against adversarial threats," Air Force Research Laboratory commander Maj. Gen. William Cooley said in a statement. "The ability to shoot down missiles with speed of light technology will enable air operation in denied environments."
Dr. Kelly Hammett, the director of AFRL's Directed Energy Directorate, said that this capability has the potentially to be a "game changer for our warfighters."
A Lockheed Martin test pilot recently told an audience that America's sixth-generation fighter could be armed with directed-energy weapons, according to USNI News. Lockheed is one of three defense contractors involved in the SHiELD program, according to Air Force Magazine.
An artist's conception of a future fight jet shooting down a threat with a laser(Lockheed Martin)
The Air Force has previously suggested that this system could be used to protect not only advanced fighters but also bombers, tankers, and transport aircraft in high-risk environments, such as the difficult-to-penetrate anti-access zones that US great-power rivals are creating.
Unlike traditional countermeasures, this defensive could offer endless protection against a variety of threats, making it a potentially revolutionary concept. The Air Force is probably still a few years out from demonstrating a working prototype of the final SHiELD laser, The War Zone reports.
Read more from Business Insider:
- North Korea fired several mysterious projectiles into the sea, sparking fears it's testing missiles again
- China has a 3rd aircraft carrier in the works, and it could be a really big deal, Pentagon reveals
- The U.S. says China is stealing technology to modernize its military, and that could erode American dominance
- Chinese submarines could soon be prowling the Arctic in larger numbers to challenge the U.S.
- Why America's 'small wars' are only going to get deadlier in the future
WATCH NEXT: The Pentagon Is Ending A Training Program For Afghan Pilots After Nearly Half Go Awol In The US
MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper suggested on Thursday he could be ready to start a highly anticipated global force repositioning this year as part of an effort to refocus the Pentagon on challenges from China and Russia.
Esper said he did not want to put a firm timeline on the completion of his so-called "defense-wide review," which is expected to trigger those troop movements.
"If I had to put an end-date (on the review), I want to make sure we are in some type of better posture by the beginning of the next fiscal year," Esper told reporters, referring to the government's calendar year for spending, which begins on Oct. 1. "So I want to move fairly quickly."
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
A trial for a German-Afghan national suspected of spying for Iranian intelligence is set to commence on January 20 in the city of Koblenz in Germany.
Identified as Abdul Hamid S. according to Germany privacy laws, the 51-year-old former interpreter and adviser for the German armed forces, or Bundeswehr, was arrested a year ago in the Rhineland region of western Germany and accused of providing information to Iranian intelligence for many years.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Iraqis rallied in central Baghdad on Friday calling for the expulsion of U.S. troops, but the protest mostly dissipated after a few hours despite fears of violence following a cleric's call for a "million strong" turnout.
Populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr convened the march after the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and an Iraqi paramilitary chief in Baghdad this month. His eventual decision to hold it away from a separate anti-government protest camp, and away from the U.S. embassy, looked pivotal in keeping the march peaceful.
STOCKTON — Diane Wright opened the door of an apartment at The Oaks at Inglewood, the assisted care facility in Stockton where she is the executive director. Inside, three people busily went through postal trays crammed with envelopes near a table heaped with handmade gifts, military memorabilia, blankets, quilts, candy and the like.
Operation Valentine has generated a remarkable outpouring of support from around the world for retired United States Marine, Maj. Bill White. Earlier this month, a resident at The Oaks, Tony Walker, posted a request on social media to send Valentine's Day cards to the 104-year-old World War II veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart.
Walker believed Maj. White would enjoy adding the cards to his collection of memorabilia. The response has been greater than anyone ever thought possible.