Laser weapon system stops truck in field test

March 4, 2015 by Lynn Fisher
Lockheed Martin ATHENA laser weapon system defeats a truck target by disabling the engine, demonstrating its military effectiveness against enemy ground vehicles. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin's 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon system successfully disabled the engine of a small truck during a recent field test, demonstrating the rapidly evolving precision capability to protect military forces and critical infrastructure.

Known as ATHENA, for Advanced Test High Energy Asset, the ground-based prototype system burned through the engine manifold in a matter of seconds from more than a mile away. The truck was mounted on a 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 chief technology officer. "We are investing in every component of the system – from the optics and beam control to the 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."

The demonstration marked the first field testing of an integrated 30-kilowatt, single-mode fiber system prototype. 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.

ATHENA is based on the Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) laser weapon system developed by Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, California, which has been proven in demonstrations against small airborne and sea-based targets. It incorporates the 30-kilowatt Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) fiber laser developed by the company in Bothell, Washington.

Explore further: Lockheed Martin demonstrates weapons grade high power fiber laser

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Noumenal
1.4 / 5 (10) Mar 04, 2015
urg, such a waste of money. Can't they spend it on something useful like fusion energy so that most of the wars become pointless, and we don't further fuck the plant, instead?

fixitup
2 / 5 (4) Mar 04, 2015
So this laser weapon burns a hole in the engine and stops it: the bad guys jump out and keep firing or as the truck rolls closer to a checkpoint (in neutral) the bad guys detonate it?

I kind'a like blowing them up totally, with the bad guys on board so NONE survives. Bad guys, vehicle and their weapons. Unless, of course, they can develop a multiple laser which will slice and dice the bad guys and all of their equipment. Now that would be fun!
a_armentrout
1.7 / 5 (9) Mar 04, 2015
Simply dispersing the light or reflecting it would render this useless.
mndaffy
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 04, 2015
Was the vehicle stationary? A point to Noumenal. War will never become obsolete. That is fodder and a fairy tale. And sadly, humans are devolving when it comes to empathy and compassion.
LGjim
5 / 5 (3) Mar 04, 2015
Fixitup: any laser that can burn a hole in the truck can probably slice and dice an incoming wave of bad guys, right ? And this is from 30kw only....
Sonhouse
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 04, 2015
mndaffy, it would not have mattered if the vehicle was moving, the aiming system is very precise. The power level of 30 Kw is only for today. Ten years from now, it will probably be 100 Kw. When it gets to 1 megawatt, it will be a serious weapon. Today, it is I think, targeted at those little pirate boats off Nigeria. It will be a show stopper for them. A mile away, your little boat is disabled, you ain't goin nowhere as the song goes.
teslaberry
1 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2015
----sonhouse---

when it gets to a full megawat laser, the advancements in drones and conventional munitions or possibly other wavelengths of directed EM energy will make the laser obsolete. maybe a maser? or an X ray laser.

many different
ospreycbk
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 04, 2015
Was this truck moving or was it a stationary target. So far just about everything we have heard about this great weapon is how well it is against a stationary while being fired from a stationary platform. How big is a 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon, how big is the power source for this weapon, how mobile is the weapon/power source.
Osiris1
5 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2015
This fiber optic, with each fiber carrying power, is eminently scalable. Look at the FeOS carrying YOUR internet today....is....fiber with many bandwidths inside. It will so NOT take ten years to get to 100K. We already HAVE them probably classified on 'air'craft still MORE classified. Anyone, I mean anyone here realllly believe that the U-2 dead in '62 is our real recon bird of choice? If so please report to my new realty office in Ft Myers, Florida for some REAL (steals) Deals in (underwater or soon to be) real estate. Predict that within 3 years or less we will have a megawatt or better 'Big Honkin' Space Gun' to deal with ICBM's or worse. Focus on the 'worse'. We just got 'surprised' by a big light...actually a pair of them...inside a crater or whatever on Ceres. Found by the Dawn probe that is getting closer. We may NEED that space gun in the thousands if our 'neighbors' poaching our system resources want to guard their 'turf' in OUR system.
locutus1023
2.3 / 5 (12) Mar 04, 2015
we can design a weapon like this but our muslim president would never use it on isis.
big_hairy_jimbo
4 / 5 (8) Mar 04, 2015
@Iocutus1023, you fucking idiot!!!
rgw
not rated yet Mar 05, 2015
100+Kw already exist. As do higher power beams. Oh, what do you think that would happen if the 30Kw beam targeted a human head as opposed to a F150 hood and engine?!?
rgw
5 / 5 (3) Mar 05, 2015
@Iocutus1023, you fucking idiot!!!


'Amen' Brother...If Obama was a Mooslem, he's be killing other Mooslems endlessly.
foolspoo
5 / 5 (1) Mar 05, 2015
"And sadly, humans are devolving when it comes to empathy and compassion."

popular belief born through oppression. our species has never worked in such collective and amiable ways as the last 15 years. war will not be the around forever. whether we witness the end of it is a great question. the ability to access breaking worldly news is remarkably powerful. the oppression shows you just how evil our species is. the reality is far different. we are capable of remarkable compassion. and we show it on each and every corner of this world, each and every second. turn off the boob toob.
foolspoo
not rated yet Mar 05, 2015
seek and ye shall, regardless of directive

http://www.dailyg...arch.php

http://www.goodne...ork.org/
nilbud
not rated yet Mar 05, 2015
Another massive military black hole for money. They could probably have built a moonbase for the money dumped into this boondoggle over the decades.
BSD
5 / 5 (2) Mar 06, 2015
Hurry up and make it a gun so we can start worry about Obama making light illegal by executive order . . .


The Right's obsessive hate of Obama is a collective psychosis on that side of politics, isn't it?
cjn
not rated yet Mar 06, 2015
The value of this weapon is it's ability to disarm a situation in a non-lethal manner. If you've been through an escalation of force incident, you'd understand how quickly a situation deteriorates. Nearly all "non-lethal" (better phrased as "less-than-lethal") methods of stopping a potential threat at distance have a risk of death to the suspected attacker if they are not hit precisely or are somehow infirm. I imagine that the control of this system will be computerized and have a much greater accuracy than a human mechanically-aimed and operated device. An effective less-than-lethal system will save numerous civilian and military lives, and is a capability worth serious investment.

Also, since the truck wasn't actually in motion, it didn't truly "stop the truck". It did, however, make it inoperable.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Mar 06, 2015
urg, such a waste of money. Can't they spend it on something useful like fusion energy so that most of the wars become pointless, and we don't further fuck the plant, instead?
Yes. Portable fusion reactors will be needed to power these lasers up into the megawatt range so they can penetrate chobham armour and sink ships.

Good thinking.
Also, since the truck wasn't actually in motion, it didn't truly "stop the truck". It did, however, make it inoperable
Doesnt matter. Auto tracking systems can already maintain a lock on a moving target.
Gaby_64
not rated yet Mar 06, 2015
Simply dispersing the light or reflecting it would render this useless.


your light diffuser or reflector has to be able to dissipate the heat, no reflecting surface is 100% reflecting throughout the spectrum
mytwocts
not rated yet Mar 06, 2015
Interesting to see how critical obviously ignorant people can be.
Returners
not rated yet Mar 07, 2015
Simply dispersing the light or reflecting it would render this useless.


It wouldn't be reflected by an ordinary mirror. You'd have to know the exact frequency of the laser to know what to use to reflect. Also it's still going to burn a hole in the mirror eventually anyway.

fixitup:
The idea is you use less ammo and you're safer from ammo magazines being hit, but you can still hit your less advanced enemie's arsenal.

Imagine if that truck is carrying 20k rounds for machine guns, and 6 rocket launchers with 50 rockets.....now that laser says night-night to their entire arsenal, and you risk nothing in terms of collateral damage.
adam_russell_9615
not rated yet Mar 07, 2015
Going by the picture it burned through a truck with its back end jacked up to get a better profile. How long did it take and would it work if there is smoke or dust in the air?
adam_russell_9615
not rated yet Mar 07, 2015
Simply dispersing the light or reflecting it would render this useless.


It wouldn't be reflected by an ordinary mirror. You'd have to know the exact frequency of the laser to know what to use to reflect. Also it's still going to burn a hole in the mirror eventually anyway.



It would not be difficult at all to find out what frequency the laser is operating at. And if you have the right frequency I guarantee you can make a mirror that wont get burned. Now if this was star trek they could modulate the frequency to make the mirror ineffective, but this isnt. They can barely make a laser this strong at one frequency, not multiple.

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