The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), said that they are on track by having a functional laser weapon on a plane by 2020, which will have the ability to cause fatal damage to targets.

Initial trials of laser weapon revealed ‘unprecedented power’ of system, and it will now be tested against live targets at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico this year.

The lab’s chief engineer, Kelly Hammet, said: “It really is a national tipping point.”

“We see the technology evolving and maturing to the stage where it really can be used.”

The new laser technology will allow laser weapons to withstand g-force and vibrations of near supersonic speeds.

“You could have an unlimited magazine… loitering aircraft that could address and access a wide variety of targets.

“Incredible precision strike capabilities could be enabled there,” Hammet added.

A test is in the works involving an F-15 Eagle, The commander of Air Force Combat Command, General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, revealed last May.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll see a prototype test case in the next year or two,” Carlisle told Air Combat Command.

The AFRL is also working on a defensive laser shield.

A 360-degree laser ‘bubble’ would surround a U.S. warplane in case of an incoming attack like a missile or another aircraft.