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Air Force Research Lab to Accept First Assembly of Directed Energy Laser Tech

1 min read
Air Force Research
Air Force Research Laboratory

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) expects to receive later this month the first of three main subsystems for a laser weapon being developed to protect military aircraft from air-to-air and surface-to-air missile threats.

AFRL said Tuesday that its team of engineers and scientists could begin system integration work after accepting initial pod hardware for the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHIELD).

Jeff Heggemeier, SHiELD program manager at AFRL, said the laboratory partnered with Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman in the past five years to develop the technology.

He added the partnership has worked to address technical factors that may affect laser system performance such as turbulence, quick aircraft maneuvers and wind speed.

AFRL expects its industry partners to deliver the remaining subsystems in July and aims to demonstrate a complete SHiELD comprised of pod, laser and beam control systems in fiscal 2024.

The program team previously demonstrated a laser pod aboard an F-15 fighter jet and tested a ground-based capability to defeat air-launched missile targets.

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