Laser Weapon Systems
Science reality has caught up with science fiction. Lockheed Martin is showing that laser weapon systems can turn up the heat and stop land, air or sea targets in their path. And, they can be compact enough and power efficient enough for tactical platforms on the move, providing nearly unlimited “bullets” with speed-of-light response.
Lockheed Martin is moving at light speed to position these capable systems for success on the battlefield. We have developed innovative fiber lasers, sophisticated beam control and auxiliary technologies. Combined with expert platform integration, these advances enable offensive and defensive capabilities against a growing range of threats to military forces and infrastructure.
Our technology today is ready to defend against small rockets, artillery shells and mortars, small unmanned aerial vehicles, small attack boats and lightweight ground vehicles that are approximately a mile way. As fiber laser power levels increase, our systems will be able to disable larger threats and do so across greater distances. When operated in conjunction with kinetic energy systems, these systems can serve as a force multiplier.
Magnifying Glass Effect
Heats up a target to the point of break-down or loss of control through a powerful beam of photons
Enables accurate aim and targeting through a series of optical lenses, mirrors and software algorithms
Beam Director & Turret
Positions the laser to permit operation in any direction
Supplies power and removes excess heat so the laser can be deployed again and again
For Land, Air or Sea
Contains the system based on where and how it will be used. Will it be in a container? On a ship? Sit by itself somewhere remote?
Brains of the Operation
Provides overarching command and control and is responsible for system status as well as the interface within a larger battle management framework
Lockheed Martin’s proven platform integration expertise includes the auxiliary technologies needed to field laser weapons systems on military aircraft, ground vehicles and ships.
Rob Afzal, Senior Fellow, Laser Sensors and Systems
Air-based laser weapon systems offer flexibility and precision for self defense against aircraft and missiles and weapons on the ground.
We have identified a path to mature and further miniaturize our laser weapon system for tactical U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps vehicles.
The low size, weight and power of our modular, self-contained laser weapon system simplifies ship integration.
Lori Reichert, Business Development lead for Directed Energy projects
Our straight-forward, robust, scalable technique combines multiple kilowatt lasers to attain weapon-level power.
ALADIN produces the highest power ever documented by a laser of this type, while retaining excellent beam quality and electrical efficiency. 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. For less power input, we achieve greater power on target.
Our beam control technology uses mirrors, lenses and windows to shape and adjust a laser’s energy.
For laser devices with output as small as 10 kilowatts or as great as 1 megawatt, our beam control optics and software algorithms fine-tune the energy stream into a focused beam. The energy travels through an optical system of mirrors, lenses and windows that concentrate it and adjust it for distortions in the atmosphere it will pass through on the way to the target.
Paul Shattuck, Director of Directed Energy systems
Lockheed Martin breakthroughs are boosting the performance of laser weapon systems for ground, air and sea platforms while shrinking their size, weight and power consumption. This includes spectral beam combining, adaptive optics, precision pointing, line-of sight stabilization and air-flow control.
We have showcased many of these technologies in our 10-kilowatt prototype system, which has defeated small airborne and sea-based targets, and our 30-kilowatt test bed system, which has disabled a stationary truck target.
In nearly 60 flight tests, Lockheed Martin has verified the performance of a turret system developed for DARPA to give 360-degree coverage for high-energy laser weapons operating on military aircraft.
Lockheed Martin begins production of a new generation of modular high power lasers this month. The first laser built using the modular technique will be a 60-kilowatt system for a U.S. Army vehicle.
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.
In tests off the California coast, the Lockheed Martin 10-kilowatt Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system successfully disabled two boats at a range of approximately 1 mile.
Lockheed Martin has successfully demonstrated the 10-kilowatt Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system in multiple tests against free-flying Qassam-like rocket targets at a range of approximately 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles).
Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a 30-kilowatt electric fiber laser, the highest power ever documented while retaining beam quality and electrical efficiency.
It starts as a speck on the horizon, just a speck, no bigger than the tip of a pencil point. Then it grows, as the convoy continues to travel along its path. It’s not one speck, but many. Small drones begin to expand into the sky, and suddenly the specks become a swarm that extends above the horizon.
Star Wars technology is the stuff of fantasy (lightsabers, anyone?). However, thanks to some recent technological breakthroughs and some really smart engineers, high-tech gadgetry on par with the sci-fi silver screen may be even closer than you think.
Lasers are a hallmark of iconic comic series and science fiction novels. While their capabilities and uses vary, in most cases, lasers are highly accurate, work instantaneously and cause minimal collateral damage. But does any of the technology behind these futuristic laser-based systems have a parallel in real-life laser technology? Actually, more than you might think.