The U.S. air force has postponed tests of a prototype laser combat, the fighter for 2023. As writes Defense News, the reason for the transfer test, previously scheduled for 2021, was the technical difficulties encountered during development of the installation, and the delays caused by the pandemic coronavirus infection.
Development of a prototype laser combat is conducted in 2017, the project SHiELD. According to the requirements of the military, the laser needs to operate efficiently when flying at subsonic, transonic and supersonic speeds.
According to the draft SHiELD, promising fighters will be equipped with three types of lasers. Low-power lasers to kilowatts will be used to illuminate the target, aiming her weapon and to counter the surveillance systems of the enemy. Lasers average power of several tens kilowatts will be used for self-defense of aircraft against missiles.
Finally, the high power laser is capable of shooting down other planes and ground targets. Powerful military lasers are considered as one of the types of weapons promising fighter of the sixth generation, however, the laser-based targeting and self-protection from missiles will be put on existing combat aircraft. The lasers will be placed in small hanging containers.
In 2021, the military planned to conduct flight tests of laser combat for self-defense. Its development by order of the air force engaged in a U.S. company Lockheed Martin. The installation is planned to place in a hanging container.
In may of last year a prototype of this installation passed the first ground tests. During these checks, the installation successfully defeated several air missiles launched from aircraft.