Lockheed Martin announced production of revolutionary lasers that will be used by the U.S. Army — and they’re unlike any other laser weapon available.
Called the Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) laser system, Lockheed began building the high-tech weapons earlier this week, according to a press release. The ATHENA is described to be more powerful than any other military lasers, and will be a great asset to the military during combat, Fox News reported.
During the testing phase back in March of this year, Lockheed Martin released a photo showing the destruction ATHENA can inflict. According to the March press release, from more than a mile away the laser beamed through the hood of a truck, and completely destroyed the engine — in a matter of seconds.
Lockheed Martin has been tenaciously engineering the lasers for the last few years, according to Fox News, and only now deemed the weapon to be worthy enough for the military.
Unlike other lasers, the ATHENA uses a cluster of fiber modules to create a beam intense enough to destroy targets from far distances. The fibers are layered, according to the press release, and this revolutionary engineering allows for precise targeting and “reduces the chance for mission disruption as a result of a component failure and minimizes the need for frequent maintenance or repair.”
The ATHENA is structured in a way to allow operators to increase or decrease the wattage used. During the testing phase, engineers used only 30-killowats to destroy the truck. Now, Athena base models boast a 60-kilowatt beam and can even be linked together to produce a 120-watt beam.
According to Lockheed Martin, ATHENA lasers will protect soldiers from combatants like “swarms of drones” by being mounted to almost any type of military vehicle, and plans to further broaden this technology in the future.
“Lockheed Martin intends to develop a family of laser weapon systems with various power levels tailored to address missions across sea, air and ground platforms,” the press release said.
The lasers will be shipped to the U.S. Army once a sufficient amount have been built in Lockheed’s Washington factory.