US Special Operations Command is planning an operational flight
demonstration of a high-energy laser on an AC-130J at the end of Fiscal
2022, a senior SOCOM official told Air Force Magazine this week.
Force Special Operations Command chief Lt. Gen. Brad Webb said in
he was “cautiously optimistic” the Air Force would get the funding to
go ahead with plans to put lasers on gunships. Air Force Col. Melissa
Johnson, program executive officer of SOCOM fixed wing aircraft, said in
an emailed statement the command is in the process of purchasing
“In addition to subsystem component procurement, assembly,
and ground test, development of structure to isolate aircraft vibrations
and flight test of an optical window on AC-130J will be accomplished,”
The planned demonstration, she added, is aimed at informing
future requirements—SOCOM’s use of a particular airframe for this
demonstration “does not mean that will be the final answer for full-up
operations,” she added.
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