Lockheed uses 30 kilowatt laser for drone shootdown test

Lockheed has released a video of the 30-kilowatt Advanced Test High Energy Asset or ATHENA laser.

The footage is from a test in New Mexico last month, where ATHENA took out 5 unmanned drones during target practice. And if somehow that doesn’t impress you, just look at what it can do to the hood of a truck.

Lockheed has been saying its laser is ready for deployment since early last year, but so far it hasn’t been strapped to any actual military equipment. Maybe this demo will change that.

The 30-kilowatt class ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset) system brought down five 10.8′ wingspan Outlaw unmanned aerial systems at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. ATHENA employed advanced beam control technology and an efficient fiber laser in this latest series of tests of the prototype system.

The system defeated airborne targets in flight by causing loss of control and structural failure. Lockheed Martin and the Army will conduct post mission reviews, and data collected will be used to further refine the system, improve model predictions and inform development of future laser systems.

ATHENA is a transportable, ground-based system that serves as a low-cost test bed for demonstrating technologies required for military use of laser weapon systems. Lockheed Martin funded ATHENA’s development with research and development investments. It uses the company’s 30-kilowatt Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) that provides great efficiency and lethality in a design that scales to higher power levels. ATHENA is powered by a compact Rolls-Royce turbo generato