The U.S. Air Force has taken the first concrete step toward deploying a high-powered laser on a fighter jet, recently awarding Northrop Grumman a $39 million contract to develop a laser beam-control system to support a 2021 demonstration. The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) planned Self-Protected High-Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) project intends to build a podded laser weapon system that can be carried externally on a fighter and used to shoot down incoming missiles or ...

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