In 2017, US Navy presented Laser Weapons System, which the media called the world’s first active laser weapons installed on the ship. Now the US Air Force wants to continue this tendency, equipping its fighters, including F-35, laser weapons to the beginning of the 2020s.
Pentagon published a document called "Review of the 2019 Anti-Relief Defense", which contains strategic plans to ensure the security of the United States from the enemy missiles. The report included plans for equipping F-35 fighters with a laser that could shoot down rockets in the air.
Laser Weapon Technology is not new for the Air Force: The Air Force Research Laboratory has been headed by the development of the Air Force Base in Kirtland. According to the official government website, the base, the work is focused on "powerful electromagnets, modeling and simulation of weapons, as well as directional energy and electrooptics". Employees of the laboratory conduct firing tests from the Earth and are already preparing for the upcoming tests that will be carried out directly during flight.
One of the main programs of the military called "Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator, Shield) is aimed at allowing fighters to shoot down enemy aircraft, heating them and burning with a powerful onboard laser. For a laser system with a capacity of 30 kW batteries, about 300 pounds can weigh and fit in the amount of up to half a cubic meter. The main advantage of this technology to ordinary weapons is that the enemy goals can be amazed, while not destroying them completely and not risking the death of civilians on Earth.
Due to the advent of laser weapons, fighter pilots are preparing for new tactical possibilities – for example, attacking several goals at once and quickly rebuild the goal – it says in the materials of the research laboratory of the Air Force. Despite the fact that the current fighters, such as F-35, can apply simultaneous air strikes on enemy targets – aircraft and drone, – pilots preparing to shoot lasers will have even more ability to hit several goals. This, among other things, will allow fighters to enter into a nearby battle in scenarios with high risk: for example, when they may face several enemy aircraft.