US aviation company Lockheed Martin has delivered a compact directed energy weapon to the US Air Force Air Force (USAF) Research Laboratory for operational testing.
What is this energy weapon, known as Next Generation Compact Environments (LANCE) Laser Advances, and what are its characteristics? Why is this development significant? What impact will it have on future battlefields? the indian express explains.
the delivery THROW
breaking defensea US website dealing with defense news, revealed in a report on Monday (July 11) that Lockheed Martin delivered a LANCE system in a compact format to the USAF Air Force Research Laboratory in February of this year.
According to a Lockheed Martin executive quoted by the US website, the LANCE system is one-sixth the size of other laser power systems being developed by the company.
Why is this development significant?
The development is significant as it is an acknowledgment that efforts to downsize the laser energy weapon have been successful and it is now ready for testing after being mounted on an aircraft.
The fact that the energy weapon has been reduced in size to that of a capsule that can be mounted on a fighter plane, or any aircraft, is an important development.
This laser weapon will give the USAF the ability to shoot down anti-aircraft missiles, giving it a crucial advantage over its adversaries.
breaking defense quoted a Lockheed Martin executive as saying that the LANCE is the “smallest and lightest high-energy laser in its power class that Lockheed Martin has built to date.” The executive was even quoted as saying it is a critical benchmark in the development of a laser weapons operating system in the air domain.
While the energy weapon was developed by Lockheed Martin, the beam control system was developed by Northrop Grumman, and the pod that will be mounted on an aircraft was developed by Boeing.
What are the implications of LANCE on future battlefields?
Although LANCE has been reduced in size for operational use on aircraft, the system can definitely be used on a variety of platforms on land and at sea.
Currently, the LANCE has been manufactured for a defensive role. However, this research could be developed to develop an offensive weapon, which could not only shoot down aircraft and drones, but also be mounted on land and sea mobile platforms for offensive functions.
Which countries are actively pursuing the development of laser energy weapons?
In addition to the US, several other countries have robust laser energy weapons development programs. This includes China, Russia, Israel, Germany, France and India.
Israel recently tested its laser weapon to shoot down a drone from the ground.
Russia, meanwhile, said it tested a laser weapon – Zadira – in Ukraine recently, a claim rejected by Western powers.
While Chinese Navy ships have been photographed with energy weapons on board, the US Navy officially tested one of these systems a few years ago.
India is also developing a directed energy weapon called DURGA II, which stands for Directed Unrestricted Ray-Gun Array. It is said to be a light energy weapon with a capacity of 100 kilowatts.