An informed source told Russian media that the new laser weapon was developed with the help of know-how accumulated by the Beriev A-60 airborne laser laboratory.
“An evolution of this system has taken place; the completed work will allow us to make a step forward in the creation of such aircraft,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The source added that a “fundamentally new” aircraft would be created to carry the laser weapon, and that it would not be based on the Il-76MD heavy strategic airlifter that was used to create the A-60. A decision on this issue will be made by the Ministry of Defense.
Recent work is a progression of experiments which began during the late Soviet period with the A-60 laser laboratory, based on a modified Il-76MD. Work on that project was temporarily frozen in 2011, before resuming in 2012. A deep modernization of the system was completed in 2016, with flight testing continuing since then.