USAF wants laser weapon it can test by 2021

Leidos won a $19.4 million ceiling cost-reimbursement contract for system integration and field testing of a laser weapon system at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Specifically, the deal is for the advancement of laser weapon system technology through research and development of systems as well as evaluating performance in relevant operational environments.

The Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Base develops technologies in laser systems, high power electromagnetics, weapons modeling and simulation as well as directed energy and electro-optics for space superiority.

With its laser programs the lab is trying to achieve a laser weapon system that can operate in all flight regimes against targets that are approaching at supersonic speeds, which must be intercepted at significant range, according to a report external link.

By 2021, the Air Force plans to test laser weapons from fighter jets to destroy high-value targets, conduct precision strikes and incinerate enemy locations from the sky. Work is scheduled to be finished by April 2022.