Thursday, May 26, 2016

AFSOC Moves Forward on Plans to Equip AC-130J with Laser Weapon by 2020

Air Force Special Operations Command is on track to equip an AC-130J Ghostrider gunship with a laser weapon by the end of the decade, officials said May 25.

Working alongside Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren in Virginia, the service has wrapped up the first phase of a two-part study that will give the command greater clarity on the maturity of commercially available systems and potential design concepts, said Lt. Col. John DiSebastian, director of fixed-wing tech insertion at Special Operations Command.

“We have identified our partners that have responded to our [request for] information [and] we are in the process of evaluating that,” he said at Special Operations Forces International Conference, sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association. “We have not downselected away from any, or chosen any. We are still, as part of this architecture, looking at what is the best operational capability and determining which vendors can support that.”

AFSOC plans to use commercially available technology to develop the laser but it will be the lead integrator of the system, he said during a panel discussion at the annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference.