Lockheed Martin has received a $26.3 million contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory to design, develop and produce a high-energy fiber laser weapon system.
AFRL plans to test the weapon system aboard a tactical fighter aircraft by 2021 as part of the Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator program, Lockheed said Monday.
The SHiELD program has three subsystems that include the Laser Advancements for Next-generation Compact Environments or the high-power energy laser weapon; SHiELD Turret Research in Aero Effects or the beam control platform; and the Laser Pod Research & Development or the pod mounted on a tactical fighter plane.
Under the contract, Lockheed will focus on the LANCE subsystem that aims to build a laser weapon designed to run in compact environments.
“We have demonstrated our ability to use directed energy to counter threats from the ground, and look forward to future tests from the air as part of the SHiELD system,” said Rob Afzal, senior fellow of laser weapon systems at Lockheed.
Afzal noted that the company handed over to the U.S. Army earlier this year a 60-kilowatt laser weapon system for integration into the service’s ground vehicles.