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Tests of Lockheed Martin's layered laser defense system

Lockheed Martin's layered laser defense system

Lockheed Martin's has the technology to fend off small rockets, artillery shells, mortar rounds, small unmanned aerial vehicles, small attack boats, and light ground vehicles.

Lockheed Martin is developing laser weapon systems to defend soldiers in the air, at sea, and on the ground, according to the company website. This innovation—known as the "layered laser defense system"—combines with skilled platform integration to counter a variety of growing dangers to military infrastructure and forces.

The company claims on its website that its technology is capable of repelling small rockets, artillery shells, mortars, small unmanned aerial vehicles, small attack boats, and light ground vehicles that are about a mile away. Our systems will be able to neutralize bigger threats over longer distances as fiber laser power levels rise. These systems have the capacity to multiply the force of kinetic energy systems when used in conjunction with them.

Lockheed Martin's layered laser defense system
Image: Lockhead Martin Leaser

In order to deploy laser weapons systems on military aircraft, ground vehicles, and ships, Lockheed Martin possesses expertise in the supporting technologies.

"Our fiber lasers operate with an efficiency that produces less heat and exists in a smaller package, allowing easier integration into various defense platforms," the company claims. The lethality and dependability of our solutions have been demonstrated by the fact that our ALADIN laser has been in use for two years without requiring realignment, according to Dr. Rob Afzal, Senior Fellow, Laser Sensors and Systems.

The company uses two main strategies to achieve this level of success:

  • A simple, robust, and scalable method for achieving weapon-level power by combining multiple kilowatt lasers: ALADIN has the highest power output of any laser of this type ever documented, while maintaining excellent beam quality and electrical efficiency. Multiple fiber laser modules combine to form a single, powerful, high-quality beam that is more efficient and lethal than multiple individual 10-kilowatt lasers using a technique known as spectral beam combining. The laser achieves greater power on the target with less power input.
  • A beam control technology that shapes and adjusts the energy of a laser by using mirrors, lenses, and windows: The company's beam control optics and software algorithms fine-tune the energy stream into a focused beam for laser devices with output as low as 10 kilowatts and as high as 1 megawatt. The energy is concentrated and adjusted for distortions in the atmosphere it will pass through on its way to the target by an optical system of mirrors, lenses, and windows.

According to Paul Shattuck, Director of Directed Energy Systems, "Our beam control technology enables precision equivalent to shooting a beach ball off the top of the Empire State Building from the San Francisco Bay Bridge."

All of this suggests that Lockheed Martin's research and innovations are enhancing laser weapon systems' performance while reducing their size, weight, and power requirements. This includes line-of-sight stabilization, air-flow control, adaptive optics, precision pointing, spectral beam combining, and precision pointing.

Watch the video of the company illustrating the testing of its layered laser defense system for an illustration of this amazing engineering.

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