Lockheed Martin has successfully fired its prototype Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) ground-based laser system against maritime targets, during tests off the California coast.
As part of the trial, the laser weapon disabled the rubber hull of military-grade small boats operating at a range of 1.6km.
Lockheed Martin senior vice-president and chief technology officer Dr Ray Johnson said that the company will continue to invest in improving fibre-laser and beam-control technologies.
"Our laser weapon initiatives leverage commercial products and processes, focusing on affordability for the user," Johnson said.
Being developed as a potential military defence against short-range threats, such as unmanned aerial systems (drones), small boats and domestic artillery rockets, ADAM can accurately track moving targets at more than 5km in range with its 10kW fibre laser, which is capable of engaging targets that are 1.2 miles away.
Pairing commercial hardware components with the laser beam control architecture and software, the ADAM design offers the required performance for approaching threats, together with a virtually unlimited 'magazine' at a low-price per engagement.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Strategic and Missile Defense Systems president Tory Bruno said that the ADAM system tests have shown that high-energy lasers are ready to begin addressing critical defence needs.
"Putting revolutionary technologies to work in practical applications is a hallmark of innovation at Lockheed Martin," Bruno said.
Image: The Lockheed Martin ADAM laser system in action during tests off the California coast. Photo: courtesy of the Lockheed Martin Corporation.