The US actively developing laser weapons capable of destroying all kinds of air targets, but Russia easily counteracts this weapon.
A prototype of laser cannon was produced in the United States. SHIELD systems will be fitted to fighters. Developers believe that this weapon is much more effective than a missile.
Yuri Knutov, a military expert and director of the Air Defense Force Museum, said that the new American laser weapon will not burn the aircraft wings as in science fiction movies. The United States uses solid state lasers.The United States Air Force Research Laboratory received a prototype laser weapon in late February. Power supplies and beam control systems will be tested in mid-summer. The US is expected to begin official ground tests of the entire complex by 2024.
Solid state lasers are used in industrial production and, inexpensively, they have low strength. So what did the Americans do? They created a system, using artificial intelligence, that connects six lasers into one. There is a phenomenon such as interference – superposition of rays. Thus, the power of the light beam increases sharply.
SHIELD (Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator) program has been started since 2016. This program aims to create three types of laser systems to protect, destroy, and illuminate targets. The laser can shoot down surface-to-air or air-to-ground missiles approaching an aircraft.
So what will Russia do against this weapon?
First of all, it is necessary to partially reflect the laser energy. That is, using a very thin metal foil to cover the missile, the energy will gradually disappear and the system performance will drop to close to zero. Another way is to have the missile spin, which would make it impossible to heat a point on the missile with a laser. These are very effective ways to neutralize US laser weapons.
Currently, Russia is also investing in developing laser weapons. Since the Soviet era, a similar system has been used on the Il-76 transport aircraft. During the tests, the A-60 complex destroyed dozens of aerial targets. Experiments are also carried out to blind and destroy orbiting satellites. However, in the late 2000s, the project was suspended and it was not until 2014 that the work resumed.
In 2018, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov announced the introduction of a dedicated laser complex on the ground of Peresvet into action. This combination is designed to blind enemy equipment, neutralize cruise missiles, UAVs and other air attack weapons.