Long-awaited Air Force 'laser weapon' in danger of being scrapped

By Daniel Walker | March 27, 2024

Technical challenges

The long-anticipated plan to equip the AC-130J Ghostrider with an operational airborne laser-directed energy weapon has encountered significant setbacks, leading to the potential cancellation of the ambitious Airborne High Energy Laser (AHEL) program. 
 

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via US Military Defense

The decision, attributed to insurmountable technical challenges and delays, marks a pivotal moment for the U.S. Air Force, signaling the end of a groundbreaking initiative aimed at deploying an aerial laser-directed weapon system.
 

Energy weapon

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via US Military News

The AHEL program, designed to enhance the AC-130J's capabilities, particularly in low-intensity counter-insurgency operations, has been a high-profile initiative within the U.S. Air Force. The program sought to equip the AC-130J Ghostrider with an operational airborne laser-directed energy weapon, positioning the aircraft as the U.S. military's first to deploy such a cutting-edge system.