Lockheed Martin has delivered a tactically-relevant electric 300 kW-class laser to the US Army. This laser will be put onto a heavy military truck. It is the most powerful laser that Lockheed Martin has produced to date. This 300 kW-class laser is ready to integrate with the DOD demonstration efforts including the U.S. Army’s Indirect Fires Protection Capability-High Energy Laser (IFPC-HEL) Demonstrator laser weapon system.
300 kilowatt combat lasers will be effective against most short range missiles, large drones and planes. The weaker 5-100 kilowatt combat lasers have been tested against mortars and drones.
Combat lasers would be an improvement over missile based systems because of the lower cost per shot. The lasers could be fired for about $1-5 per shot for the cost of the energy and the wear and tear on the system. A well maintained laser and power source could fire tens of thousands of times versus a large truck loaded with perhaps dozens to a hundred missiles that cost $10k-100k a piece to fire.
The OUSD (R&E) selected Lockheed Martin in 2019 to scale its spectral beam combined high energy laser architecture to the 300 kW-class level as part of the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI), and the team recently achieved that milestone ahead of schedule.
“Lockheed Martin increased the power and efficiency and reduced the weight and volume of continuous-wave high energy lasers which reduces risk for future fielding efforts of high power laser weapon systems,” said Rick Cordaro, vice president, Lockheed Martin Advanced Product Solutions.
The HELSI laser will support demonstration efforts with the Army’s IFPC-HEL, which is scheduled for laboratory and field testing this year.
SOURCES- Lockheed Martin, Congressional Report on Lasers, Air Force, Navy and Army Laser Reports
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
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