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Lockheed Martin Laser Weapon Destroys Truck A Mile Away

Lockheed Martin Laser Weapon Destroys Truck A Mile Away

by Chris DavisMarch 9, 2015
Weapon of choice — laser beams!

Last week we got a glimpse of what the future of war could look like.

Global defense weapons behemoth Lockheed Martin announced that its new high-power laser weapon can disable a ground target from more than a mile away, as demonstrated in a recent field test.

The demonstration, in which Lockheed’s ground-based prototype weapon burned through the engine of a mile-away small truck “in a matter of seconds,” represents the highest power ever documented by a laser weapon of its type, according to Lockheed.

This capability could prove to be especially useful in counterterrorism operations, considering that weapon-mounted trucks are commonly used by militias and extremist groups like ISIS. The lasers are also more budget-friendly to use, with each shot costing significantly less than missiles and even bullets.

Lockheed’s fiber-optic laser weapon system ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset) uses a technique called spectral beam combining, in which multiple fiber laser modules combine to form a single, powerful, 30-kilowatt beam. Lockheed Martin boasts in its press release that the technology provides “greater efficiency and lethality” than the multiple sets of 10-kilowatt lasers used in other systems.

The implications of this frighteningly powerful weapon? According to Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin chief technology officer, “This test represents the next step to providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks.”

The U.S. Navy debuted a similar drone-killing laser weapon in December, which it says is ready for combat use.