AFRL Plans 2020 Test Of Laser, Microwave Weapon Systems Written 2 November 2018

Aerospace America reports that the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) issued a request for information asking for ideas for “Directed Energy on an Airborne Platform,” specifically laser and microwave weapons with the ability to “precisely attack ground targets” while defending against “surface-to-air missiles and air-to-air missiles.” The request adds that “responses could also determine the viability of directed energy weapons for possible ‘base defense against cruise missile systems.’” Responses are due by November 30 “to help AFRL plan for a directed energy weapon experiment in fiscal 2020 that could lead to future contracts.” The request includes a requirement that the directed energy system be capable of “wingman defense” and destroying missiles targeting nearby aircraft. Size and weight are challenges, Air Force Chief of Directed Energy Experimentation Michael Jirjis “said, because directed energy designs submitted to AFRL must include both an electrical power source and a means to keep it from overheating.” Jirjis added that currently “a C-130-like platform seem[s] to offer the best option at the moment for offense and defense.” Raytheon “said it participated in a demonstration of its ground-based microwave emitters and lasers hosted this month by the Air Force at the US Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.” AFRL has not provided “details about the demonstration or confirmed if multiple companies demonstrated weapons.” Raytheon and Lockheed Martin would not confirm “if they would respond to ARFL’s request for information related to the proposed fiscal 2020 flight experiment.”
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