US Air Force SHIELD Laser System

The U.S. Air Force has announced that a ground-based surrogate for a laser weapon system that could protect American fighter jets as well as other aircraft from incoming threats in the future has successfully destroyed multiple air-launched missiles in a test. Officially called the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) program, the system works on a turreted mount and a self-contained pod to attach the complete system to a fighter jet-sized aircraft. They are two separate components of the SHiELD Turret Research in Aero Effects (STRAFE) and Laser Pod Research & Development (LPRD) projects, respectively. Read more for another video and additional information.

“The Air Force eventually wants SHiELD to be able to shoot down incoming air-to-air missiles, as well as surface-to-air missiles, providing an active defense for fighter jets during operations in high-risk environments. The service has already suggested, not surprisingly, that the system could also find its way onto larger, slower-moving combat and combat support aircraft, such as bombers, tankers, and transport planes, to mitigate the threat from ever-improving missiles cued by steadily more advanced radars and other sensors,” reports The Drive.