US Air Force Unveils Combat 'Laser Guns' On AC-130 Gunships

Tyler Durden's picture

Just day after we highlighted "Silent Hunter" - China's new vehicle-slicing laser gun - it appears the US military is stepping up the propaganda on its own 'hi-tech weaponry'. Air Force Special Operations Command plans to install and test combat lasers on AC-130 gunships within a year.

The Pentagon has been experimenting with laser weapons for decades. In 2009, the Advanced Tactical Laser — fired from a C-130 — burned a hole in the hood of a truck.

The Air Force and the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency spent billions of dollars putting a laser on the nose of the 747 jetliner that would be used to shoot down ballistic missiles. The project was canceled in 2012. Webb acknowledged that the project, which didn’t field an operational aircraft, left a bad taste in people’s mouths.

In 2014, the Navy deployed a laser on an amphibious transport dock in the Persian Gulf. The captain of the ship was given permission to use the laser as a defensive weapon.

But now, as reports, a laser-armed C-130 project is U.S. Special Operations Command’s top unfunded priority, according to Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, the head of Air Force Special Operations Command.

“I’m pretty optimistic,” Webb said of the project Thursday at an Air Force Association-sponsored conference. “There are a lot of vendors that are really contributing to and continue to push that technology along.”

The plan is to install a relatively low-kilowatt laser, do a “proof of concept and go from there,” Webb said, increasing power laser weapon after it’s proven accurate and effective in testing. The command has money “to do the first steps” of the project.

After a year of talking with “every industry partner who’s ever even touched a laser…I know the technology has matured now, I believe we can put a high energy laser — offensive and defensive — on an AC-130 by the close of this decade.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean turning the entire future AC-130J fleet into laser planes, but having “at least four or five of our airplanes modified in this fashion will help.” notes that The Air Force plans to begin firing laser weapons from larger platforms such as C-17s and C-130s until the technological miniaturization efforts can configure the weapon to fire from fighter jets such as an F-15, F-16 or F-35. Instead of flying with six or seven missiles on an aircraft, a directed energy weapons system could fire thousands of shots using a single gallon of jet fuel.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Intelligence_Insulter's picture

And what is that is going to do against internal threats?  We got foreign born fake osama slayers mascarading as presidents these days. 

Zero Point's picture

Use laser to burn hole in truck

Use canon to vaporize truck

GUS100CORRINA's picture

President Ronald Regan "Star Wars" Initiative looks to be finally bearing some real fruit. 

Movie Titled "REAL GENIUS" Starring Val Kilmer Distributed by TriStar Pictures Released on August 7, 1985 comes to life.

Real Genius is a 1985 science fiction comedy film is set on the campus of Pacific Tech, a technical university similar to Caltech. Chris Knight (Kilmer) is a genius in his senior year working on a chemical laser. Mitch Taylor (Jarret) is a new student on campus who is paired up with Knight to work on the laser.

If these lasers are as powerful as the ones in the movie, it would change the dynamic of warfare forever. A laser that could vaporize a missile would make North Korean and IRANIAN missile technology obsolete before it even gets off of the ground.


ThanksChump's picture

Paint everything white. Or shiny metal.

Reflected laser is useless laser.

prime american's picture
prime american (not verified) ThanksChump Mar 6, 2017 6:18 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

TheMachinist's picture

This laser should be tested on the "I'm making over $7k a month working part time" chump.

BuddyEffed's picture

Could change the crowd dispersal methodology.

Scale back the power a little, and a lot of people could get the message in a hurry.

Could pulse the weapon for lower power.  Quick and accurate aiming is doable.

Hardly anyone would want to stay around for 2nd degree burns.

More effective than tear gas?

Could target anyone in 100 square meters at a time, with pulses covering each square meter.

Obvious risk to the eyes and catching some clothes on fire, but if the crowd is onery enough...

Suggest Boeing think of using it as a way to set backfires for use when fighting forest fires.

Could start the grasses and shrubs on fire without anyone being in the area.

In a wartime scenario, could torch off the enemy fuel dumps without dropping a $20,000 bomb.

If laser strong enough, could even take an areas grid offline by cooking the wires or insulators or transformers.

Boston Dynamics must be salivating for the technology to downsize.

I imagine if the laser could drill just a quarter inch hole even 4 inches deep into non metallic objects, that could be a game changer in ways.  I wonder how close the technology is to something like that.

A tighter beam even a few thousandths of an inch across that had the power to punch through and into fuel tanks might take a vehicle out since there is typically combustible/explosive fuel vapor in the tank just waiting for one spark or glowing hot spot.

PT's picture

And if you wake up one morning and find a black square painted on the bonnet of your car, ... RUN!

Byte Me's picture

The problem is not so much one of delivered power as one of efficiency.

This has always been the significant drawback for the laser that the scientists and engineers "get" - but the politicians "waffle-around" in the pursuit of unrealistic goals because they believe HollyCrap like Star Wars.

It's a bit like building an electric plane. It can be done, but you don't fly the aeronautical equivalent of a diesel electric locomotive. Not much better doing a nuclear reactor powered plane ( )

Too heavy. Plenty of easily forseen drawbacks....

For the engineer, getting rid of the waste heat would be the biggest problem, I think. Running a close second would be the downtime as the system recharges.

A 6000 rps airbourne gattling gun would have much better value parameters.

Rusty Shorts's picture

 - "A 6000 rps airbourne gattling gun would have much better value parameters".


Wow, 6000 rps huh...

New_Meat's picture


"... it would change the dynamic of warfare forever."

rock, stick, longbow, horse, firearm, breech loading rifle, machine gun, chemicals, airplane, helicopter, a-bomb, ... all these were going to be "decicive and forever"

not until you don't have human fighting humans will the dynamic change.

Byte Me's picture

"... it would change the dynamic of warfare forever."

Yeah - It's also really effective "shooting" through "adverse weather conditions" such as a freaking cloud deck.

All an opponent needs to do against this weapon type is "muddy the delivery medium"

That boils down (sic) to mist, fog or smoke countermeasures. Trouble is that becomes a BIG negative because it encourages 'arson forest fires' or "oil field blazes"

Not to disparage your "rock, stick .. " analogy at all. This mechanism just affects range (under ideal conditions)

New_Meat's picture

"range" doesn't "change the dynamic of warfare forever".

I think that combustion products from oil fires fuck up GPS signals, let me check ... yep, it definitely does do that.

Until the beam can be steered to take out multiple targets mighty fast there won't be a good counter to the drone swarm.  But the idea of blinding sensors of all varieties, that is a hell of a weapon.

Elco the Constitutionalist's picture
Elco the Constitutionalist (not verified) GUS100CORRINA Mar 6, 2017 9:17 AM

Unless they launch said missile on a foggy, rainy, or even cloudy day. Even a clear day has too much water vapor, normal gasses, and other particulates for the laser to have much range.

It is a retarded waste of money that should be spent on missile tech.

micksavage2010's picture

gus100corrinna aka jeebus fanatic100*: u must have missed the chinese already have this technology working. for awhile now.

if the f35 "program" is any indicator, about all amerikkan technology with laser weapons can do is burn a hole in a thin sheet of aluminum on the hood of a stationary truck.

how u can possibly tie a loser movie from 1985 to technology decades later and fantasize "If these lasers are aas powerful...".

doncha think jeebusgus that scary stories of non-existent north korean and iranian missile technology - why leave out any other country that can throw missiles that actually have the effing missiles?

and wtf with amen and jeebus with ur warmonger fantasies? from wikipedia, the infidels:

The usage of Amen, meaning "so be it", as found in the early scriptures of the Bible is said to be of Hebrew origin; however, the basic triconsonantal root from which the word was derived is common to a number of languages, such as Aramaic, in the Semitic branch of the Afrasian languages.

why don't u enlist in a western military or israhell and show us how to be a warmonger for jeebus? and learn more hebrew and flee to israhell.

hasbara, thank u.

micksavage2010's picture

crikey hasbara pig: can u ever spell ur troll hero prezunent correctly?

the hasbara patrol know the constant misspelling is programmed by the superstooped computer that spawns your ilk.

star warz was an israhell war industry fantasy from the start. never functional and by physics is pretty much impossible still today, long after ronnie raygun and nancy blowjob queen of hollywood are warming their undying zombie asses in the rings of hell.

Mareka's picture

Directed energy weapon.
The laser doesn't necessarily need to be focused enough to cut anything.

A lot of damage could be done from a distance with only the ability to raise the temperature of something quickly,

For example to set something on fire or to make an armored vehicle a few hundred degrees.

N0TME's picture

Quick, where's my mirror!

PT's picture

"Fire Lasers!"

Futurama.  Insane In the MainFrame.  Laser proof glass.  And this is the only copy of the scene that I could find.  I wanted one that went that little bit further and had the "Fire lasers" in it.  Is Google really this bad???????

HowdyDoody's picture

I'm sure they will work just fine in the ME dust storms.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

...and snow storms, rain storms, shit storms, etc.

New_Meat's picture

and the "operator" is tired, hung over, drunk, stoned, getting a Lewinski, ...

PT's picture

Good point, you two.  I want to see this thing in action during a snow / rain / dust storm.
What wins?  The power of the laser or the high heat capacity of water?
What's the specific heat of dust?

ReZn8r's picture

"And what is that is going to do against internal threats? We got foreign born fake osama slayers mascarading as presidents these days.

Pinpoint the Monkey's eyeballs and BLAST away.

ReZn8r's picture

actually target the Monkey with an anti-aircraft gun.

Spaulding's picture

Time to get Kent to put a monster bowl of popcorn in the professor's office!

rbg81's picture

Nice (& subtle) "Real Genius" reference.  Well done Sir!

cowdiddly's picture

So you spend billions on a weapon that can burn a hole in the hood of a truck when a 2000lb bonb is called a "Block Buster" for a reason. It takes out the whole truck and an entire city block with it for pennies by comparison. Don't need the whole block? Use a KAB250. The only thing you need a laser for is if you need to guide one up someone's bunghole.

Sounds about par for the course. Tsk Tsk, have you even learned the tiniest bit from watching the Russians fight for 3 years and still adding 40 tons of gold a month to the stack? DERP.

Leszek's picture

Russia adds 11 tons of gold monthly to the stack. It's not 40 ton, but still better than adding debt :)

cowdiddly's picture

Wrong, Feb added 40 tons. Look it up

Leszek's picture

But the average (last 3 years) is 11 ton.

cowdiddly's picture

Again your wrong. 2014=461 ton, 2015= 208ton 2016=199 ton.

How you get 11 ton a month out of that must be some common core stuff I don't use.

To convert you use a METRIC ton to troy ounces, this might be where your going wrong.

You don't build a chart in 5/6 years that looks like this with no 11 tons a month.

But no matter just know that Putin and XI are coming after your treasury sellin market rigging broke ass. That's all you really need to know, which you do.

tuetenueggel's picture

Thats what american morons counted.

SilverRhino's picture

No, you spend billions on a weapon that can be mounted from a fixed position (White House, Skyscraper, Aircraft Carrier) that can track and shoot down a cruise missile or a jet.  Even if you don't get a skin kill you blind the optics / pilot.

Surface to Air Interception just got a LOT faster.   [lightspeed] 


cowdiddly's picture

sounds great until someone flys at you with a mirror.

SilverRhino's picture

Apprently you failed your optics course.   

10-20KW will overheat, melt and demolish any mirror you mount.  

myne's picture

Lasers can be used twice. Actually many times.

How many times can your KAB250 be used?

cowdiddly's picture

That's what they said about the space shuttle. Ha

New_Meat's picture

Mk 81 used to be like $10/lb

tuetenueggel's picture

Russians are intelligent.

Americans have big mouths only. Their intelligence comes from south their texan border.

Buster Cherry's picture

Yeah, the Russian's definitely took you guys to school.

Kraut's intelligence comes from their Islamic masters being welcomed into their country.

Mepaulus's picture

Same as the Russian pencil to write in space joke, it's the MIC in play here.

hound dog vigilante's picture


OK, so I could get one of those Papa Murphy's un-baked pizzas (with my SNAP card) and lay it out on my car hood, and have one of these C-130 laser planes cook my 'za right there... for free 'n shit...

I Write Code's picture

Here's da thing, use of lasers to blind an enemy is still supposed to be a no-no, which is a darned shame because eyeballs are a soft target.  These lasers are a down payment on a system that can take out a swarm of fifty drones, because otherwise fifty drones might be able to take out a high-value target for pennies on the dollar.  Apparently nobody really knows how to build a laser that can shoot down a missile ten miles away, it's just a whole lot harder than it looks.  Doubt it can knock out a truck either.