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  • Laser Weapon Stops Truck in Field Test
Mar 2015
BETHESDA, Md., March 5, 2015 — Operating at the highest power ever documented for a system of its type, a laser weapon under development by Lockheed Martin disabled the engine of a small truck during a recent field test.

The 30-kW ground-based prototype, called ATHENA (for Advanced Test High Energy Asset), burned through the engine manifold in a matter of seconds from more than a mile away. The truck was mounted on a test platform with its engine and drive train running to simulate an operationally-relevant test scenario.

Laser weapon system disables truck engine
The ATHENA laser weapon system has demonstrated the ability to disable a small truck engine. Courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

“Fiber optic lasers are revolutionizing directed-energy systems,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin’s 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.”

The demonstration marked the first field testing of an integrated 30-kW, single-mode fiber laser weapon system prototype. 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-kW lasers used in other systems.

ATHENA is based on the Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) laser weapon system developed by Lockheed in Sunnyvale, Calif., which has been proven in demonstrations against small airborne and sea-based targets. It incorporates the 30-kW ALADIN (Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative) fiber laser developed by the company in Bothell, Wash.

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