Lockheed-Martin test fires V8-killing laser weapon
Test held to demonstrate the precision and capability of the 'directed energy' system which fried a Ford V8 engine from over a mile away
Lockheed Martin has used a 30-kilowatt laser weapon system able to kill a pick-up truck engine from more than a mile away during a field test in the US.
The test was held to demonstrate the precision and capability of the ‘directed energy’ system which, it seems, went quite well. The system, known by the acronym ATHENA which stands for Advanced Test High Energy Asset, was fired at a Ford F-150 truck mounted on a test platform, with its engine running and wheels spinning.
The laser was triggered from more than a mile away and burned a hole through the bonnet and engine manifold in seconds. The system uses a technique called spectral beam combining where multiple fibre 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.
“Fibre-optic lasers are revolutionising 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.”