Laser Demo Eyed for B-1B

The Air Force, together with DARPA, is working to demonstrate a high-energy laser weapon system for aircraft self-protection, Steven Walker, USAF’s deputy assistant secretary for science, technology, and engineering told House lawmakers Tuesday. Under the electric laser on a large aircraft, or ELLA, initiative, the service aims to integrate a laser system module into forward bomb bay of the B-1B bomber “to demonstrate the aircraft self-defense capabilities of a high-energy electric laser in a practical platform,” he told members of the House Armed Services terrorism and unconventional threats and capabilities panel. ELLA will be based on DARPA’s high energy liquid laser area defense system, or HELLADS, laser device. Upon completion of HELLADS development, the Air Force will couple the device to a beam control system for a series of ground demonstrations followed by integration on the aircraft, said Walker. (Walker’s prepared testimony)