A prototype laser weapon developed by Lockheed Martin has been demonstrated melting a hole through a truck from over a mile away.

The 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon system successfully disabled the engine of the small truck during a recent field test on 3 March, demonstrating the rapidly evolving precision and power of lasers.

The US aerospace and defence firm’s test of its Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) was the highest power ever recorded by a laser weapon of its type.

Keoki Jackson, chief technology officer of Lockheed Martin, said:

“Fiber-optic lasers are revolutionizing directed energy systems.

“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.”

ATHENA is based on Lockheed Martin’s Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) laser weapon system, which was designed to target 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.

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