Russia has revealed plans to equip its new sixth-generation fighter jets with lasers so powerful they will be able to burn out the guidance systems of enemy missiles, rendering them unable to hit a target.
With the advances in military warfare Russia is planning ahead to combat the threats of air-to-ground or air-to-air missiles. One thing they both use is radar or heat-seeking technology to locate and destroy a target, but they claim new lasers on aircraft will be able to 'blind' attacking missiles.
"We already have laser protection systems installed on aircraft and helicopters, and now we are talking about developments in the field of powered lasers that will be able to physically destroy attacking missiles' homing heads...we'll be able to burn out 'the eyes' of missiles," Vladimir Mikheyev, advisor to Radio-Electronic Technologies Group (KRET), told Russia state news TASS.
Its advanced new fighter jet, which will replace the current Sukhoi T-50, is also said to be loaded with electromagnetic guns, electronically-guided munitions and fly in formation with swarms of 20-30 drones to attack the enemy.
"One drone in a formation flight will carry microwave weapons, including guided electronic munitions while another drone will carry radio-electronic suppression and destruction means and a third UAV will be armed with a set of standard weaponry," said Mikheyev.
Using swarms of drones for unmanned aerial combat is also on the radar for the US military, with one defence firm showing off lethal drones at the Paris Air Show that could be capable of acting like a wingman to the F-35.
Russia's sixth-generation fighter jet will come in both manned and unmanned variants and is scheduled to make its debut flight by 2025. The unmanned version would be capable of carrying a high-power microwave weapon and increased manoeuvrability – something it wouldn't be able to do with a pilot on-board due to risk of radiation and extreme g-force it will endure.
"The use of microwave weapons is highly problematic for a plane with a pilot due to the need to preserve his life. But if we develop an additional system of protection against our own microwave weapons, we'll lose even more space and the weight margin," Mikheyev told TASS.
The article also reveals that the future combat plane will be fitted with a radio-photonic radar system that claims to be more powerful and have a longer range than any other in use.
"The radio-photonic radar will be able to see further than existing radars, in our estimates. And, as we irradiate an enemy in an unprecedentedly wide range of frequencies, we'll know its position with the highest accuracy and after processing we'll get an almost photographic image of it – radio vision."
As Russia talks up its latest and greatest, the US also has recently hinted at development plans for a sixth-generation fighter jet. While its still in the process of a long rollout of the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II, an Air Force official claimed they are looking to move away from dogfighting ability to electronic 'brain power' on its future aircraft. In addition to its sensors and pre-emptive ability, the jets would also pack high-powered, directed energy lasers using intense beams to destroy targets and incoming missiles.