Lockheed Martin recently demonstrated the evolving precision capability of its fiber laser weapon system by disabling the engine of a truck.
The demonstration marked the first field testing of an integrated 30-kilowatt, single-mode fiber laser weapon system prototype, the company announced Tuesday in its press release.
Through a technique called spectral beam combining, multiple fiber laser modules form a single, powerful, high-quality beam that provides greater efficiency and lethality than multiple individual 10-kilowatt lasers used in other systems.
The ground-based prototype system that is known as Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) burned through the engine manifold in a matter of seconds from more than a mile away.
The truck was mounted on a test platform with its engine and drive train running to simulate an operationally-relevant test scenario.
"Fiber-optic lasers are revolutionizing directed energy systems," said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin's chief technology officer.
"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." Jackson added.