17 March 2017
Lockheed Martin’s Bothell office has unveiled a world record-setting laser weapon for the U.S. Army.
Lockheed successfully developed and tested the 58 kW laser beam earlier this year, setting a world record for this type of laser.
The company is now preparing to ship the laser system to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command in Huntsville, Alabama.
"The inherent scalability of this beam combined laser system has allowed us to build the first 60kW-class fiber laser for the U.S. Army," said Robert Afzal, senior fellow for Lockheed's Laser and Sensor Systems in Bothell. "We have shown that a powerful directed energy laser is now sufficiently light-weight, low volume and reliable enough to be deployed on tactical vehicles for defensive applications on land, at sea and in the air."
The 58kW laser is known as a “beam combined fiber laser,” which brings together individual fiber lasers to generate a single, high-intensity laser beam. It can be made more powerful by adding additional fiber lasers.
Laser weapons, which complement traditional kinetic weapons in the battlefield, will one day protect against threats such as “swarms of drones” or a flurry of rockets and mortars, Lockheed said.
Lockheed (NYSE: LMT) operates a 69,000-square-foot Laser and Sensor
Systems facility in Bothell that focuses on cutting-edge laser research,
development and manufacturing.