China is developing a one-of-a-kind laser gun for hypersonic missiles and planes.

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China is developing a one-of-a-kind laser gun for hypersonic missiles and planes.

A laser cannon installed atop a hypersonic vehicle is being developed by scientists at a Chinese military institute, and it might considerably improve the efficiency and stability of future missiles and aircraft.

According to an article published in the July issue of the monthly journal Laser & Infrared, the research, undertaken by personnel of the People’s Liberation Army-affiliated Space Engineering University in Beijing, has modeled prospective technology to overcome the major impediment of air resistance.

The technology includes firing a laser at the molecules in front of a hypersonic vehicle, creating air plasma, or a “hot core,” that manipulates the shape of the shock wave developing in front of the missile or airplane as it travels at Mach 5.

Authors Shi Jilin and Wang Diankai of China’s State Key Laboratory of Laser Propulsion and Application wrote in the abstract of their work published online last Thursday, “Laser plasma drag reduction technology is of great significance for hypersonic aircraft drag reduction and thermal insulation, and improves aircraft performance.”

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