Air Force, Lockheed Martin developing laser weapons for fighter jets

(CNN | Air Force Research Lab)

Those Star Wars' laser fights in mid-air could be real one day.

The Air Force is working with Lockheed Martin to develop high-energy laser weapon systems for its fighter jets.

The platform has been dubbed LANCE, which stands for "Laser Advancements for Next-Generation Compact Environment."

The Air Force wants to use the lasers for self-defense in the future and hopes the weapons system will protect forces from missiles and drones. The laser, mounted on a jet, conjures images from Star Wars.

Researchers will work on beam control and firing, and creating a jet-mounted pod system to power and cool the laser.

The military is hoping to test a system on a tactical fighter jet by 2021.

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