UV - Unmanned Vehicles

Lockheed and USAF carry out ATHENA C-UAV testing

8th November 2019 - 08:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Lockheed Martin has demonstrated alongside the US Air Force the ability of its Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) laser weapon system to engage and counter fixed and rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicles. 

Testing was carried out at a government test range in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, during which ATHENA successfully demonstrated its counter-UAV capability.

It operated in a fully-netted engagement environment integrated with a government command and control (C2) system and radar sensor, Lockheed says. 

The radar track was provided to USAF ATHENA operators via cues from the C2 system, then the system's beam director slewed, acquired, tracked and countered the drone with a high-energy laser.

Validating this type of full kill-chain performance has been a priority of USAF and other branches of the Department of Defense, Lockheed says, adding that it remains a requirement for laser weapons to be used against unmanned aerial systems in the field.

‘[T]his type of laser weapon solution is essential for deterring unmanned vehicle-type threats, so it's an exciting time for us to watch airmen compete Lockheed Martin's critical technology,’ Sarah Reeves, VP of missile defence programmes at Lockheed, said.

‘ATHENA has evolved to ensure integration and agility are key, and it remains an affordable capability for the warfighter.’

The ATHENA system was developed by Lockheed for easy integration and cost-effectiveness, and it is able to utilise the network of systems that military personnel already operate. It is also transportable, so can be deployed as and when required. 

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