Lockheed Martin has revealed a radical turret that allows fighter jets to fire laser weapons at near supersonic speeds. Because enemy aircraft and missiles can come from anywhere, a laser weapon system on a military aircraft will need to be able to fire in any direction. However, the laws of physics say that a laser only can engage targets in front of an aircraft that is travelling close to the speed of sound – unless atmospheric turbulence can be counteracted. Scroll down for video A prototype turret developed by Lockheed Martin for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Research Laboratory. It controls and compensates for air flow, paving the way for laser weapon systems on tactical aircraft. Here, a green low-power laser beam passes through the turret on a research aircraft. HOW IT WORKS The design uses the latest aerodynamic and flow-control technology to minimize the impacts of turbulence on a laser beam. An optical compensation system, which uses deformable mirrors, then is used to ensure that the beam can get through the atmosphere to the target. Left unchecked, turbulence would scatter the light particles that make up a laser beam, much like fog diffuses a flashlight beam. Advertisement… Read full this story
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