Fighting with lasers
After announcing the development of a mach 6 capable aircraft, Lockheed Martin is now making strides in developing laser weaponry.
According to a press release from the security and advanced technologies company, it’s not even a matter of availability, but how quickly it can be integrated into current defense and military platforms.
In fact, when asked how quickly they can deliver a laser weapon system, if an organization like the Pentagon asked for one today, the team from Lockheed Martin unanimously agreed they could immediately produce a viable weapon for fielding.
“The technologies now exist,” says Paul Shattuck, company director for Directed Energy Systems. “They can be packaged into a size, weight, power and thermal which can be fit onto relevant tactical platforms, whether it’s a ship, whether it’s a ground vehicle or whether it’s an airborne platform.”
Just how powerful is this laser, you ask?
From a full-on Star Wars space battle to a laser pointer, Lockheed Martin’s ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset) is an extremely versatile science project.
Although limited to a 15 – 30 KW scale, Shattuck says it can still bore a hole through a two inch piece of steel in seconds. At its current strength, it’s powerful enough to shoot down a drone or disable a truck’s engine from over a mile away.
Lockheed is set to deliver a 60 KW laser for the Army by the end of the year, known as the RELY program. “We’re underway,” says Robert Afzal, senior fellow at Lockheed’s Laser and Sensor Systems “So we’re building hardware right now and we’re beginning the integration.”