China tries laser cannons on fighter jets

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The Chinese Air Force could equip its planes with laser weapons according to an article in the South China Morning Post. The article takes up two press releases that appeared on the official website for the procurement of weapons and military equipment of the People’s Liberation Army.

These press releases, which serve to find potential new private suppliers, provide detailed requirements for a particular piece of equipment that could be a new type of laser assault weapon for aircraft, according to the Global Times. It would be an airborne laser weapon that could shoot down incoming missiles as well as hostile vehicles.

A prototype, according to a television broadcast on China Central Television, has already been built and the laser canon would have a power of 100 kW. The biggest advantage of such a weapon would be that the high-energy light beam would travel substantially straight, without any delay and at the speed of light, which would allow very precise attacks in flight.

However, due to the technological challenges that such a technology requires if it is prepared on an aircraft, we have not yet seen a fighter shooting laser beams, as we have seen in many science fiction movies since Star Wars.

Of course, China isn’t the first country that is trying to develop laser weapons for its military aircraft: the U.S. Air Force is also allegedly conducting several tests with similar weapons mounted on fighter jets as well as tests would be held in Russia where news has spread that the MiG-35 Mikoyan fighter jet could be equipped with laser weapons in the future.

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