US Army to get 60kW laser
Lockheed Martin has completed the design, development and demonstration of a 60kW-class beam combined fibre laser for the US Army, the company announced on 16 March.
The Lockheed Martin laser produced a single beam of 58kW during its testing earlier in March 2017. The company is now readying to deliver it to the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/army forces strategic command in Huntsville, Alabama.
Lockheed Martin's laser brings together individual lasers generated through fibre optics, to generate a single, intense laser beam. This allows for it to be scaled up in power by adding more fibre laser subunits. The laser is based on a design under the Department of Defense's Robust Electric Laser Initiative Programme, and further developed through investments by Lockheed Martin and the US Army into a 60kW-class system.
Robert Afzal, a senior fellow for Lockheed Martin's Laser and Sensor Systems, said: 'The inherent scalability of this beam combined laser system has allowed us to build the first 60kW-class fibre laser for the US Army. 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.'
According to the company, the laser system has proved to be highly efficient in testing, capable of translating over 43% of the electricity that powered it directly into the actual laser beam it emitted.
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