Lockheed Martin Built Powerful Laser for US Army

first_img Lockheed Martin has built a 60 kW-class beam-combined fiber laser for the US Army.The laser, which recently broke a world record by producing a single beam of 58 kW, is being shipped to the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command in Huntsville, Ala.“Delivery of this laser represents an important milestone along the path to fielding a practical laser weapon system,” Paula Hartley, vice president of Mission Systems & Training at Lockheed Martin, said in a statement.Using fiber optics (transparent solids—typically glass—that transmit light signals), the machine compiles individual lasers to generate a single, intense beam.The scalable technology, based on a design developed under the Department of Defense’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative Program, allows the device to be made more powerful by simply adding additional fiber laser subunits.“The inherent scalability of this beam-combined laser system has allowed us to build the first 60 kW-class fiber laser for the US Army,” Robert Afzal, senior fellow for Laser and Sensor Systems at Lockheed said. “We have shown that a powerful directed energy laser is now sufficiently light-weight, low-volume, and reliable enough to be deployed on tactical vehicles for defensive applications on land, at sea and in the air.”Built to complement traditional kinetic weapons—i.e. bombs—these lasers are aimed at protecting against swarms of drones or high volumes of rockets and mortars.Last week, Gen. David Perkins revealed that a US ally took down an adversary’s off-the-shelf quad-copter with a Patriot missile.The skirmish, which ultimately cost the country millions and the attacker only a few hundred dollars, makes a case for laser lovers. Proponents of the tech, according to the Washington Post, suggest it would be cheaper and more efficient than munition systems.The proof is in the pudding: In 2015, Lockheed used a 30 kW fiber laser weapon, known as ATHENA, to disable a truck from a mile away. Just imagine what 60 kW could do.According to the company, this machine is capable of translating more than 43 percent of its electricity directly into the beam it emits. Stay on target Air Force Tests Laser Tech to Shoot Down Multiple MissilesMIT’s Laser System Covertly Delivers Audio Messages last_img

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