Lockheed Martin Delivers Laser System LANCE to US Air Force

Lockheed Martin Delivers Laser System LANCE to US Air Force
Lockheed Martin Delivers Laser System LANCE to US Air Force

The United States Air Force has received a high-energy laser weapon that can be carried by aircraft in a podded form from Lockheed Martin. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), which is in charge of developing and integrating new technologies in the realms of air, space, and cyberspace, puts the "Laser Advancements for Next-generation Compact Environments" (LANCE) to the test.


There have been previous instances of an airborne laser system. The LANCE is smaller and requires less power to generate the necessary energy beam. 
Lockheed Martin Delivers Laser System LANCE to US Air Force

Suppose LANCE is successful in its defensive mission. In that case, it may inform the development of more offensive-oriented laser weapons, such as those that can engage enemy aircraft and drones at longer ranges than when targeting a fast-approaching anti-aircraft missile launched from the ground or an enemy aircraft. 
Lockheed Martin Delivers Laser System LANCE to US Air Force
 
However, there are drawbacks to laser defence systems, such as a lack of resistance to atmospheric conditions, which could reduce the range and power of the directed-energy beam. 
Then there's the fact that a laser can only engage one target at a time, which means it'll likely supplement rather than replace existing decoys and countermeasures once in service. 

 Lockheed Martin Delivers Laser System LANCE to US Air Force
 
Because the company released a video showing defensive laser systems being developed for aircraft applications, Lockheed Martin intends to integrate the airborne defensive laser system into the F-16 and C-130. The video shows a pod mounted beneath an F-16's centerline hardpoint and a fixed system mounted beneath an AC-130's fuselage. 
Lockheed Martin Delivers Laser System LANCE to US Air Force