Physics

With airplane lasers, the Pentagon is trying — again — to turn a 50-year-old vision into reality

With airplane lasers, the Pentagon is trying — again — to turn a 50-year-old vision into reality

A fighter jet is soaring through unfriendly skies when its sensors detect a hurtling, incoming missile.

Within seconds, a pod on the fighter activates and shoots out a high-energy laser that destroys the threat.

This isn’t the stuff of science fiction. It’s the U.S. military trying once again to turn a 50-year-old vision into reality.

Spurred by advances in laser technology, as well as the evolving capabilities of potential adversaries, defense firms are developing laser weapons systems, ranging from aircraft armed with a high-energy laser to attack ground targets to countermeasures to protect future fighter jets from...

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