Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) field tested their Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA), a ground-based single-mode laser prototype based on their Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) laser, and managed to blast a hole in a small truck, successfully disabling the truck’s engine and drive train.
In the field test, the truck was placed on a mount.
The company, whose net sales were $45.6 billion in 2014, published a press release on Tuesday regarding the recent demonstration of their 30-kilowatt fiber laser’s field capabilities. The release quoted the company’s chief technology officer, Keoki Jackson, as having said that “the test represents the next step to providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks.”
Fiber-optic lasers are revolutionizing directed energy systems […] 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 is a global security and aerospace company based in Bethesda, Maryland. The company has roughly 112,000 employees around the world. It’s engaged in researching, designing, developing, manufacturing, integrating and sustaining advanced technology systems, products and services.
The recent ATHENA test marks the first time an integrated 30-kilowatt, single-mode fiber laser has ever been field tested. The weapons system employs the company’s 30-kW Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) fiber laser.
The functional prototype employs a system which its makers refer to as Spectrum Beam Combining to acquire, track and destroy its targets.
Engadget reports that lasers have a staggering range, dirt-cheap cost to fire, and the ability to attack land or air-based targets.
What are your thoughts of this hi-tech laser’s successful field test in which it disabled a small truck mounted to a platform? Are Lockheed’s lasers the weapons of the future?