Military

Lockheed Martin's laser weapon takes down 5 drones in live-fire demonstration

Lockheed Martin's laser weapon...
In a live-fire demonstration at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, a 30-kilowatt class laser weapon system developed by Lockheed Martin brought down five unmanned aerial vehicles
In a live-fire demonstration at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, a 30-kilowatt class laser weapon system developed by Lockheed Martin brought down five unmanned aerial vehicles
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In a live-fire demonstration at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, a 30-kilowatt class laser weapon system developed by Lockheed Martin brought down five unmanned aerial vehicles
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In a live-fire demonstration at the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, a 30-kilowatt class laser weapon system developed by Lockheed Martin brought down five unmanned aerial vehicles

It was 5-0 at the US Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico as a Lockheed Martin prototype laser weapon system shot down five unmanned drones with a 100 percent success rate. The August test of the Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) system against five Outlaw drones was designed to demonstrate how the system's advanced beam control technology and an solid-state fiber laser could decisively destroy unmanned aerial threats.

In a video released by Lockheed, the transportable, ground-based ATHENA system shot down the five 10.8-ft (3.3-m) wingspan Outlaws by focusing its 30 kW Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) laser at the aircraft's stern control surfaces until they burned off, sending the drones crashing into the desert floor.

ATHENA is a test-bed, single-mode laser system that's based on the company's Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) laser weapon system which uses a process that the company calls Spectrum Beam Combining. This consists of fiber laser modules where the active gain medium are made of an optical fiber doped with a rare-earth element like erbium, ytterbium, or neodymium. The optical fibers are flexible, so the laser can be thousands of meters long for greater gain, while taking up very little space because it can be coiled like a rope.

"The tests at White Sands against aerial targets validated our lethality models and replicated the results we've seen against static targets at our own test range," says Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin's Chief Technology Officer. "As we mature the technology behind laser weapon systems, we're making the entire system more effective and moving closer to a laser weapon that will provide greater protection to our warfighters by taking on more sophisticated threats from a longer range."

Lockheed Martin and the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command is currently conducting reviews of the test data to help refine the system, produce better model predictions, and improve future laser systems.

The video below shows ATHENA in action.

Source: Lockheed Martin

ATHENA Laser Weapon System Defeats Unmanned Aerial Systems

9 comments
Deres
A simple cover with reflective material would protect against 90% of the power of the laser ... An a few aleatory movement would prevent the laser to focus exactly on the same point for several seconds. A thirdprotection would be some insulation around part vulnerable to therma failure as in done in buildings to protect them against fire. So I don't think maser is a panacea against drones as they have many simple counter-measures.
Daishi
@Deres tanks are designed to be shot at. Drones not so much. If an adversary has to redesign drones around the capabilities of the laser the laser has already succeeded.
Grunchy
I heard it wouldn't work so good on a foggy day. Otherwise, seems like an effective measure against any sub-light speed craft...
Rusty Harris
This is what they show the public, you can only imagine what they have that is still classified.
Mark Robinson
No info about the distance of the drones.
JimFox
If an armed drone, even quicker to ignite the explosives... early days so range info & performance at altitude won't be revealed. Can it engage several simultaneously? Not yet, but one day... US military is very keen on energy weapons of several types. "Sub-light speed craft"?? Must assume Grunchy means 'sub-sonic' because there is no possibility of any over-light speed craft, ever. Plus, laser travels at light speed so aiming is no problem.
JimFox
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-SCnrmRrKg LAWS- 2014
dougspair
...another Youtube video spoiled by annoying soundtrack.
RichardtheRomanSoldier
How fast were the drones moving, not expecting full combat speeds but want to gage progress