Lockheed Martin has further improved their laser weapon system technology with a 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon system that successfully disabled the running engine of a small truck during field testing.
ATHENA, Advanced Test High Energy Asset, is a ground-based system that has shown it can burn through an engine manifold in seconds from more than a mile away. The truck was on a platform with its engine and drive train running to simulate a real scenario.
“Fiber-optic lasers are revolutionizing directed energy systems,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin chief technology officer. “We are investing in every component of the system—from the optics and beam control to the laser itself—to drive size, weight, and power efficiencies. This test represents the next step to providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks,” Lockheed Martin said on their website.
The demonstration marked the first field testing of an integrated 30 KW, single-mode fiber laser weapon system.
Through a technique called spectral beam combining, multiple fiber laser modules form a single, powerful, high-quality beam that provides greater efficiency and lethality than multiple individual 10-kilowatt lasers used in other systems.
ATHENA is based on the Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) laser weapon system. It has proven itself against sea-based and airborne targets. It uses the 30-kilowatt Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) fiber laser.
Watch the ADAM High Energy Laser disable a small boat:
It looks like high power laser weapon systems are the weapons of the future, bringing us closer to a Star Wars reality every year.