Last year, we caught a glimpse of Lockheed Martin's 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon system that decimated an engine manifold in a few seconds from more than a mile away. Lockheed has also used ATHENA to shoot down small rockets, UAVs, and small boats.
Yesterday, Lockheed announced that it has completed the design, development and demonstration of a 60 kW-class beam combined fiber laser. This one has a date with the U.S. Army.
The company tested the laser in early March, and it produced a single, 58 kw beam. The feat is impressive, and a little bit scary, as it represents a world record for a laser of this type.
No photos from that demonstration have been made available yet, though they did provide this snackin' rendering.
The system has a beam combined fiber laser, which means that it brings together individual lasers, generated through fiber optics, to generate a single, intense laser beam. This makes the laser scalable, but the 58-kw laser pushed the physical limits for focusing energy toward a single, small spot.
The laser system also proved to be highly efficient in testing, capable of translating more than 43 percent of the electricity that powered it directly into the actual laser beam it emitted.
Lockheed Martin is now preparing to ship the laser system to the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command in Huntsville, AL.