U.S. Markets open in 6 hrs 56 mins
  • S&P Futures

    4,704.00
    +2.50 (+0.05%)
     
  • Dow Futures

    35,830.00
    +19.00 (+0.05%)
     
  • Nasdaq Futures

    16,494.75
    +13.50 (+0.08%)
     
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    2,365.40
    +1.20 (+0.05%)
     
  • Gold

    1,861.20
    -0.20 (-0.01%)
     
  • Silver

    24.88
    -0.02 (-0.08%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1369
    -0.0006 (-0.0568%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.5890
    -0.0150 (-0.94%)
     
  • Vix

    17.59
    +0.48 (+2.81%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3497
    -0.0003 (-0.0216%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    114.3040
    +0.0520 (+0.0455%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    57,693.48
    +3,155.95 (+5.79%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    1,402.14
    -65.80 (-4.48%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,255.96
    -35.24 (-0.48%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    29,683.09
    +84.43 (+0.29%)
     

US Air Force successfully shoots down multiple missiles with a laser

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Weekend Editor
·1 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The US Air Force just edged closer to its goal of outfitting aircraft with laser weapons. Testers at the White Sands Missile Range have successfully shot down multiple air-launched missiles using the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD), proving that it can hold up under intense situations. While SHiELD is currently a ground-based behemoth (see below), the finished technology should be portable and rugged enough to be used aboard aircraft.

You won't see the technology used in-air for a while. The USAF only gave Lockheed Martin a contract in 2017, and the first airborne tests aren't expected until sometime in 2021. It would likely take a while after that before the system could find its way into service.

Provided the technology works as promised, though, it could have a dramatic effect on combat aircraft. The laser wouldn't be an offensive weapon, at least not at first. Rather, it would be used to shoot down missiles (both air-to-air and surface-to-air). As long as nothing interfered with the laser, an aircraft could be virtually impervious to missile attacks and effectively control the skies.

Ground-based SHiELD laser defense weapon
Ground-based SHiELD laser defense weapon