Lockheed Martin unveils the future of warfare with its new laser
Generally, when you consume entertainment from decades back, there’s a point where you just have to embrace how far off the futuristic projections of the past were. Based on the fiction of the space age, we should be living on the moon and flying around in personal jetpacks. We aren’t there yet, but Lockheed Martin just pushed us a little further in that direction.
The manufacturer has its tentacles in several different fields including defense, and it just demonstrated its Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA), a laser capable of punching a hole through a solid metal engine in seconds from over a mile away.
According to Mashable, the weapon is based on a previous system known as the Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM). The previous system was demonstrated in May 2014, and was capable of destroying UAVs, rockets, and small boats. The new model is much more powerful. It is also similar to the US Navy’s Laser Weapons System (LaWS), which is ready for combat deployment.
“Fiber-optic lasers are revolutionizing directed energy systems,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin chief technology officer said in a press release.“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 system uses an “integrated 30-kilowatt, single-mode fiber laser.” The technique uses a “spectral beam combining multiple fiber laser modules [that] form a single, powerful, high-quality beam” as compared to previous, 10-kilowatt lasers.
In layman’s terms: pew-pew, kaboom.
The successful test came with a Facebook post from Lockheed Martin. They even kicked it off with a pun. Because nothing says “welcome to the next stage of warfare” like a pun.
Now that the laser has likely caused at least a few awkward reactions of childlike glee from the Pentagon Brass, Lockheed Martin will work to make the weapon increasingly more portable.
So now we have laser weapons that can destroy solid metal in seconds from a mile away. God help us all when DARPA sees this and jealously decides to try to top it. It may blow up the moon just to prove it can.