Russia Plans Laser Weapons for Next Jet

July 31, 2017 Updated: July 31, 2017

The next generation of Russia’s fighters jets will be equipped with advanced lasers that can burn the homing systems from enemy missiles, a Russian weapons company told TASS on Thursday, July 27.

Russia announced that it had started developing a sixth-generation advanced fighter jet in March of last year.

Air-to-air missiles are guided by a homing system that uses heat and other information to find its target. The new lasers on Russian jets will be capable of zapping that homing system from the missile, effectively making it blind, said Vladimir Mikheyev, adviser to the first deputy CEO of Radio-Electronic Technologies Group, which developed the system.

“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,” Mikheyev said.

“Roughly speaking, we’ll be able to burn out ‘the eyes’ of missiles that look at us,” he added.

Russian T-50 fighter jet.  (By Dmitry Zherdin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (] via Wikimedia Commons)
Russian T-50 fighter jet. (Dmitry Zherdin [CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

The new Russian jets will also have unmanned drone versions that will carry various weapons systems alongside the manned aircraft. Mikheyev said that the sixth-generation jets will be able to fly in formation with 20-30 drones, each of which will be equipped with different weapons.

“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. Each specific task is solved by different armaments,” he said.

The sixth-generation jet will replace the current T-50 fighter.

Mikheyev also said that the new jets have a radar that can scan an enemy aircraft and determine its type and munitions.

“As I understand, the MiG-41 is a kind of a futuristic project, which is still on the stage of conceptual design,” Russian defense analyst Vasily Kashin told National Interest.

“We probably should consider it as having the same status as the American, Chinese, and European sixth-generation projects—something futuristic, which, at best will be deployed by 2035-40,” he said.