Air Force General Carlton Everhart says the Air Force is working to add the unconventional feature, allowing the tanker to fly closer to the fight than ever before.
Everhart told Voice of America News in a recent interview that Air Mobility Command, in coordination with Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations, will be testing lasers on airplanes “in about two years.”
Everhart said the idea of defending the KC-46 tanker with lasers is possible because the plane's engines can generate a massive amount of power.
One major advantage of defensive lasers is that they don't run out of ammunition, an important feature on an airplane with limited space. As long as they have electrical power, they can keep firing.
Everhart hopes the technology will be finalized on the KC-46 Pegasus during the 2020s.