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US Air Power’s Airborne Laser Weapon Deployment Postponed: Report

The official deployment of the US Air Power’s airborne high-energy laser weapon has been postponed to subsequent yr as a consequence of delays in flight testing, The Conflict Zone has reported.

Officers from the Air Power Particular Operations Command (AFSOC) advised the outlet that flight testing is now scheduled to start in January 2024 and finish in June.

The unique plan was to combine the airborne laser into the service’s AC-130J Ghostrider gunship and have its first flight someday in 2022. 

Earlier this yr, a number of reviews famous that the much-awaited testing would happen earlier than the tip of 2023, however this was pushed again once more.

AFSOC officers haven’t defined the delay, however indications recommend integrating the laser onto the AC-130J was extra difficult than anticipated.

An air pressure official beforehand advised the outlet that further testing is likely to be wanted, hinting that there have been difficulties in performing the modifications required for the Ghostrider to hold the directed-energy weapon.

Unsure Future

In 2019, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to combine a 60-watt laser weapon onto the AC-130J to take down enemy property with improved precision.

Nevertheless, the Ghostrider already has a precision strike package deal with 30-millimeter and 105-millimeter cannons.

It can be fitted with different precision-guided munitions, such because the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, the AGM-114 Hellfire missile, and the AGM-176 Griffin.

Regardless of the challenges, AFSOC is continuous with this system, as laser weapons are thought-about best for taking pictures down missiles and disabling enemy electronics as a consequence of their excessive accuracy and invisibility.

Nevertheless, this system’s future stays unclear following growth and testing challenges.

AFSOC is predicted to determine whether or not or not it’ll advance the laser integration and make it a program of file to permit extra funding.