Lockheed Martin has successfully demonstrated a 30KW weapons grade, high-powered fibre optic laser for military use.
During the demonstration, which is included in the internally funded research and development programme, a 30KW laser has been generated by gathering many fibre lasers into a single, near-perfect band of light, the highest power ever documented while retaining beam quality and electrical efficiency.
The process, dubbed as spectral beam combining, transfers beams from multiple fibre laser modules, each with a unique wavelength, into a combiner to produce a single, powerful, high quality beam, while using 50% less electrical power than solid-state lasers technologies.
Lockheed Martin senior vice-president and chief technology officer, Dr Ray Johnson, said that the high-energy laser serves as the laser weapon system’s heart.
"Lockheed Martin has opened the aperture for high-power, electrically-driven laser systems suitable for military applications," Johnson said.
"Advancements in available laser components, along with the maturity and quality of our innovative beam-combining technology, support our goal of providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for use on military platforms such as aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks."
The demonstration marks a step ahead on the path to operate a mission-relevant laser weapon system for a wide range of air, land and sea military platforms.
"This 30KW milestone shows our commitment to producing the high beam quality and high-power needed to address a variety of military ‘speed-of-light’ defensive operations," Johnson continued.
Although prior laser weapons demonstrated target acquisition, tracking and destruction, the solutions were limited for tactical military due to their laser inefficiencies.