ATHENA: Lockheed Martin's New 30 kilowatt Laser Weapon Can Destroy A Truck From A Mile Away

As if there wasn't enough powerful weapons on earth for us all to destroy each other with, Lockheed Martin recently released an image showing off the destruction wrought by the latest evolution of their prototype laser weapon system.

Called ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset) the ground-based 30 kilowatt fiber-optic laser stopped a truck in its tracks from a mile away by zapping the engine out of existence (see image above).

"This test represents the next step to providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks." said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin chief technology officer.

Here's how it works:

The demonstration marked the first field testing of an integrated 30-kilowatt, single-mode fiber laser weapon system prototype. Through a technique called spectral beam combining, multiple fiber laser modules form a single, powerful, high-quality beam that provides greater efficiency and lethality than multiple individual 10-kilowatt lasers used in other systems. (via)

The weapon is a variation on Lockheed Martin's Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM), which they developed to tackle targets like rockets, drones, and small boats.

LASER2

The US Navy has also been playing around with lasers, last year releasing a video of their Laser Weapon System (LaWS) being deployed aboard the USS Ponce.

It marks a shift for the US Navy, moving away from gunpowder and into more technologically advanced weapons. As well as LaWS, the Navy also unveiled new prototype railguns last year too, which could be tested at sea as early as next year.

The railguns can fire at an incredible seven times the speed of sound and use electromagnetism to launch projectiles over 100 nautical miles. Projectiles which can cut through just about anything on land, sea, and air.

You can watch the railguns in action in the video below.