March 17, 2017
WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Lockheed Martin completes new battle laser for U.S. military.
“We have shown that a powerful directed energy laser is now sufficiently light-weight, low volume and reliable enough to be deployed on tactical vehicles for defensive applications on land, at sea and in the air,” said Robert Afzal, senior fellow for Laser and Sensor Systems at Lockheed.
According to Afzal, the Lockheed Martin team created a laser beam that was near “diffraction limited,” meaning it was close to the maximum limit for focusing energy toward a single, small spot.
Lockheed believe the laser will act as a complementary weapon on the battlefield and will prove particularly effective in disabling drones or incoming rockets.
In 2015, the company used a 30kW laser weapon, known as ATHENA, to disable a truck sited a mile away.
Solid state laser technology is seen as a cheap option to defend against incoming attacks.
A Patriot missile, usually priced at about $3 million was recently used to shoot down a $200 quadcopter drone, according to a US general.
Conversely, in 2015 the Navy estimated that a solid-state laser can be fired for less than one dollar per shot.
If as a child I had known that “senior fellow for Laser and Sensor Systems” would become a real job, my education might have followed a much different path.