FAIRCHILD AFB, Wash. -- Lasers shooting out of planes sounds like something right out of a science fiction movie, but the technology could be used to better protect refueling tankers and their pilots.
The United States Air Force is looking to add laser weapons to KC-135 refueling tankers like the ones at Fairchild Air Force Base.
KC-135 refueling tankers help keep the U.S. Air Forces’ fleet of planes going. Fairchild Air Force Base is home to 44 of these refueling tankers.
The United States Air Mobility Command will begin research in 2018 to see if it is possible to put laser weapons on the KC-135 tankers and find out how it will work.
The Air Force is already experimenting with this technology on fighter jets. They expect to begin testing on those in 2021.
Air Force officials said there has been more advancements in weapons that can be launched from the ground, so they are looking for ways to protect their fleet of planes and their pilots.
The Air Force wants to accomplish this in two years.
Air force officials said they are also working on technology to make it harder to detect KC-135 refueling tankers in the air.