New ground-based laser system tested against rockets and unmanned aerial system

November 28, 2012, Lockheed Martin
New ground-based laser system in tests against rockets and unmanned aerial system
Sensor image shows engagement by the ADAM system of an unmanned aerial system target.

Lockheed Martin today announced that it has successfully demonstrated a portable, ground-based military laser system in a series of tests against representative airborne targets. Lockheed Martin developed the Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system to provide a defense against short-range threats, such as rockets and unmanned aerial systems.

Since August, the ADAM system has successfully engaged an unmanned target in flight at a range of approximately 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) and has destroyed four small-caliber rocket targets in at a range of approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles).

"Lockheed Martin has invested in the development of the ADAM system because of the enormous potential effectiveness of high-energy lasers," said Doug Graham, Lockheed Martin's vice president of advanced programs for Strategic and Missile Defense Systems. "We are committed to supporting the transition of directed energy's revolutionary capability to the war fighter."

Designed for short-range defense of high-value areas including forward operating bases, the ADAM system's 10-kilowatt fiber laser is engineered to destroy targets up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away. The system precisely tracks targets in cluttered optical environments and has a tracking range of more than 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). The system has been designed to be flexible enough to operate against rockets as a standalone system and to engage unmanned aerial systems with an external radar cue. The ADAM system's combines commercial hardware components with the company's proprietary software in an integrated and easy-to-operate system.

"Lockheed Martin has applied its expertise as a laser weapon system integrator to provide a practical and affordable defense against serious threats to military forces and installations," said Paul Shattuck, 's director of directed energy systems for Strategic and Missile Defense Systems. "In developing the ADAM system, we combined our proven laser beam control architecture with commercial hardware to create a capable, integrated system."

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not rated yet Nov 28, 2012
Stopping the incoming ordnance is a desirable goal, but the next step is to identify the origin and stop the NEXT incoming threat before it is launched.
An ounce of prevention...
5 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2012
... the next step is to identify the origin and stop the NEXT incoming threat before it is launched.
An ounce of prevention...

Which is why they are developing the Rail Guns in tandem with the lasers.

The Navy will have lasers for their anti-missile and anti-aircraft capabilities, and they'll have Rail guns for some "horizon and just beyond" targets, all in addition to the existing drones and cruise missiles.

This should ultimately allow a large decrease in collateral damage to civilians, as well as a much safer system defensively, since the fewer explosives you have on-board your ship (or ground based-installation,) the safer you will be from secondary fires and explosions if and when you actually do get hit by an enemy weapon.

Overall, these two systems, lasers and rail guns, will provide immense positional advantage as defensive stand-off weapons, while having a higher range and safety than systems they'll be replacing
1 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2012
Although this article doesn't say so, these lasers are powerful enough to shoot down conventional ballistic artillery rounds from things like enemy ships, mortars, mobile land artillery (such as the paladin tank,) or other conventional tanks.

Of course they are not perfect and they have physical limits, but they appear to be much better than any other system I've heard of so far.
not rated yet Nov 28, 2012
Now try it against something coated in carbon fibre matting. 1KW per square centimetre is not enough to burn through by a long way.

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