A test carried out by defense giant Lockheed Martin has successfully demonstrated the ability of a laser beam to shoot down multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the company has announced.
During test operations with the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command in August, the 30 kilowatt ATHENA laser system brought down five Outlaw unmanned aerial vehicles at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
“The tests at White Sands against aerial targets validated our lethality models and replicated the results we’ve seen against static targets at our own test range,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin’s Chief Technology Officer said in a statement.
“As we mature the technology behind laser weapon systems, we’re making the entire system more effective and moving closer to a laser weapon that will provide greater protection to our warfighters by taking on more sophisticated threats from a longer range.”
According to the company, the transportable, ground-based system takes down UAVs by focusing its Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) laser at the aircraft’s stern control surfaces until they are burnt off causing structural failure and loss of control of the aircraft.
“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,” declared Paul Shattuck, Director of Directed Energy systems.