A new laser weapon system developed by Lockheed Martin has the capability to stop any vehicle from a mile away. The laser is so powerful that, when fired, it can burn a hole right through a vehicle’s engine.
While there is no footage to show the company testing the laser, there is a photo that shows what exactly can happen when it hits a truck. A press release noted that the demonstration of the new laser weapon system didn’t have the truck in motion. Instead, Lockheed Martin placed the vehicle on a platform with its engine and drive train operating to recreate a ground-based scenario on how the new system can stop a moving vehicle. And it took just seconds from the time the weapon was fired to the time it reached the vehicle for the beam to burn a hole right through the truck’s engine.
This was the first time Lockheed Martin tested the prototype known as the Advanced Test High Energy Asset, or ATHENA for short. The weapon is able to fire one 30-kilowatt laser beam using a technique known as “spectral beam combing.” This technique makes it twice as powerful as lasers that are used elsewhere.
Keoki Jackson, the chief technology officer for Lockheed Martin, explained how ATHENA came about, and what the plans are for it.
“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.”
One Lockheed Martin spokeswoman told the New York Daily News how the military can use this new weapon in combat.
“The technologies incorporated in ATHENA have been developed for ground, maritime and air environments, and can be used for self-defense against a range of close-in threats from military forces or terrorists, such as ground vehicles, rockets, artillery, unmanned aerial systems and small boats. In the case of a truck or other small ground vehicle, disabling the engine is an effective way to make it inoperable.”
And it’s not just Lockheed Martin that is coming up with a new laser weapon system. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the U.S. Navy has come up with a safer and more cost-effective weapon that can hit objects from 10 miles away. Rear Admiral Matthew L. Klunder explained how more effective the laser weapon has proven to been over the Navy’s other weapons.
“We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”
[Image via Lockheed Martin]