Lockheed Martin has received a $26.3 million contract from the US government to develop laser-based weapons for Air Force fighter jets. The Air Force is hoping to test the laser weapons by 2021, after which they'll be used in a defensive manner against ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons.
This deal is part of the Air Force Research Lab's "Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator" program. Its system is broken into three parts: a beam-control mechanism for guiding the laser, a pod for powering and cooling, and the laser itself. Lockheed's contract is for the laser.
Northrop Grumman is working on the beam-control system and Boeing is developing the pod.