A sixth generation fighter could have a laser weapon and drone swarm control, a Lockheed Martin executive said giving a glimpse of a future jet his company could possibly develop.
The company showcased High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS) electronic warfare system on Wednesday. It will be integrated aboard an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer in 2021, according to a report by USNI.
Owing to the technological advancements, mini-version of the HELIOS suited to fit into an airframe is expected to be developed soon.
“Being a tactical pilot in today’s age is really exciting. During my time, I’ve seen the leap from fourth-generation to fifth-generation, with the integration of stealth and sensor fusion,” Tony Wilson, a Lockheed Martin F-35 test pilot, said.
“What I’m really looking forward to is the next generation leap. That’s a sixth-gen fighter, where we not only take stealth and sensor integration, but we start adding things like directed energy weapons, drone swarm control," he added.
"The HELIOS system will offer an infinite magazine. It is powered by the ship’s existing power-generation system and is a precision low-cost-per-kill weapon and will be integrated with the Aegis Combat System," Brendan Scanlon, Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS program director.
The recent conflict between Russian and Ukrainian forces reportedly provided Lockheed Martin experts "a wealth of information."
"The company was able to evaluate the Russians’ communications-jamming and electronic attack capabilities and glean what type of radar technologies they use for offensive purposes," said Steve Allen, Lockheed Martin’s Information Operations and Solutions Director.