WATCH

Lockheed Martin to Develop Laser Weapons for U.S. Fighter Jets

Airborne laser weapons can defend against threats from enemy missiles, boosting the self-defense capabilities of military jets

A U.S. Air Force F-35A stealth fighter jet, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp., stands on display during a press day of the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, South Korea, on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017
SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

The U.S. Air Force is tapping Lockheed Martin to equip its fighter planes with high-energy lasers.

CNBC reports that Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $26.3 million contract to design, develop, and build a high-energy laser weapon for the U.S. Air Force's SHiELD program.

The company delivered a 60-kilowatt laser for U.S. Army ground vehicles early this year, and will produce a smaller system to test on tactical aircraft by 2021.

Lockheed Martin to develop laser weapons for U.S. fighter jets Haaretz/Reuters

Airborne laser weapons can defend against threats from enemy missiles, boosting the self-defense capabilities of military jets.

The Lockheed Martin laser is one of three subsystems that make up the SHiELD program. A beam control system is being developed by Northrop Grumman, while a pod to power and cool the laser is being designed by Boeing.