Lockheed Martin has begun production of a new generation of modular high power lasers for the US Army this month.
The first laser built using the modular technique will be a 60-kilowatt system for a US Army vehicle, Lockheed Martin said in a statement Tuesday.
Production of the fiber modules laser will take place at Lockheed Martin's Bothell, Washington facility. The modular laser design allows the laser power to be varied across an extremely wide range according to the needs of a specific mission and threat.
Its incorporation of commercial fiber laser components into easily reproduced modules makes production of Lockheed Martin's laser highly affordable. The Army has the option to add more modules and increase power from 60kW to 120kW as a result of the laser's modularity.
"A robust laser system with minimal operational down-time results from the integration of modular fiber-based lasers," said Iain Mckinnie, business development lead for Laser Sensors and Systems, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training. "With modular lasers, the possibility of a complete system failure due to a single-point disruption is dramatically lessened. Production is also affordable due to the ease of reproducing module components."
The laser combines multiple fiber modules to generate an intense laser beam. The layered approach reduces the chance for mission disruption as a result of a component failure and minimizes the need for frequent maintenance or repair.