The United States Army will add more firepower to its arsenal, courtesy of Lockheed Martin, the global security and aerospace company that has completed a 60 Kilowatt-class beam combined fiber laser.
“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, Ph.D., senior fellow for Laser and Sensor Systems in a press release by Lockheed Martin.
This 60kW laser – which represents a world record for its magnitude – will be a good defense mechanism against modern-day threats such as drones, as well as more conventional weapons like rockets and mortars and is a huge upgrade over the 30kW fiber laser known as ATHENA that Lockheed Martin used in 2015 that took out a truck from over a mile away.
Another positive aspect of a solid-state laser is the low cost. In 2015, the U.S. Navy estimated the cost of a single shot at less than one dollar. In contrast, a Patriot missile costs approximately $3 million.
CNBC reported that a $3 million missile was recently used to shoot down a $200 quadcopter drone.
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