Lockheed Martin Completes Laser Weapons For U.S. Military

Military, Science, World News

It looks like science fiction style weapons might not be too far off.

Lockheed Martin said it has finished developing a 60 Kilowatt (kW) laser system and is now getting ready to hand it over to the U.S. Army.

The aerospace and defense firm claimed in a press release Thursday that in testing earlier this month the laser beam system achieved a 58kW blast, a world record for a laser of this type, according to CNBC.

“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,” said Robert Afzal, senior fellow for Laser and Sensor Systems at Lockheed.

According to Afzal, the Lockheed Martin team created a laser beam that was near “diffraction limited,” meaning it was close to the maximum limit for focusing energy toward a single, small spot.

Dr. Hammett tells us what a 30 kW blast can do, but twice that power would be vastly more destructive.

Dr. Kelly Hammett, Chief Engineer for Directed Energy at the Air Force Research Lab, told Popular Mechanics: “Lasers can deliver precise and tailorable effects against a wide class of targets near-instantaneously and at a very low cost per shot. The type of gradual effects a 30 kW laser can deliver includes: deny, degrade, disrupt, and destroy of targets such as UAV’s or small boats at a few kilometers range.”

The weapon is currently expected to act as a complementary weapon on the battlefield and will prove particularly effective in disabling drones or incoming rockets.

Solid state laser technology is a much cheaper way to defend and attack.

A Patriot missile, priced at about $3 million was recently used to shoot down a $200 quadcopter drone, according to a US general.

Conversely, in 2015 the Navy estimated that a solid-state laser can be fired for less than one dollar per shot.

This new technology should save huge amounts of money on weapons. Should we expect to see budget cuts to the military soon?

(Article By Jeremiah Jones)

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