A 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon system from Lockheed Martin successfully disabled a vehicle engine from a distance of more than one mile. In the test — said to represent the highest power ever documented by a laser weapon of its type — the beam from the Advanced Test High Energy Asset, or ATHENA, quickly burned through the engine manifold of a truck mounted and running on a test platform.
“This test represents the next step to providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks.”
In early 2014, the US Army has awarded Lockheed Martin a $25 million contract to design, build and test a “weapons-grade” 60 kilowatt fiber laser system. Under a contract managed by the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Technical Center, the fiber laser will be integrated on the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) – essentially an Army truck adapted to carry the laser and its accompanying cooling system.
The Army’s High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator(HEL MD) will improve to a 60 kw system late in 2016. Today’s technology will enable fiber lasers to scale to 300 kw. Near term improvement to the underlying technology will enable well beyond 500 kw lasers.
SOURCES – Lockheed, UPI, optics.org
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