US to Test Lockheed Martin's New High-Tech Laser Weapon on Army Trucks

By Prei Dy, | March 20, 2017

Lockheed Martin announced its new laser weapon system that is capable of slicing a record 58 kilowatts of direct power.  (YouTube)

Lockheed Martin announced its new laser weapon system that is capable of slicing a record 58 kilowatts of direct power. (YouTube)

The US announced earlier this week that it is preparing to test its new high-powered laser weapon that can be installed on army trucks, another spate of bold statements from a giant country like China and Russia that also aim to develop its own laser weapons.

Lockheed on Thursday said that its new solid-state fiber laser, dubbed the High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck (HELMTT) is capable of slicing a record-breaking 58 kilowatts of direct power. The weapon is expected to be delivered to the US Army in the coming months for testing.

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"Delivery of this laser represents an important milestone along the path to fielding a practical laser weapon system," Paula Hartley from Lockheed Martin, said, acknowledging that such move was a joint effort between the US Army and Lockheed Martin.

"We are pleased to be able to deliver this system for their further integration and evaluation," Hartley added.

The laser is a beam combined fiber laser, which means it brings together individual lasers from fiber optics to produce a single, intense laser beam. It is also a scalable laser system, which could be made more power if more fiber laser subunits are added.

Currently, the laser is based on the design from the Department of Defense's Robust Electric Laser Initiative Program. Lockheed Martin and the US Army developed the weapon further into a 60kW-class system.


In addition to that, Lieutenant-General Brad Webb, head of the US Air Force Special Operations Command, said that the army's AC-130 aircraft, equipped with laser weapons, will also undergo testing before the year ends.

Ilya Plekhanov, Russian military expert, noted that "most likely, the AC-130's laser will be used as an offensive weapon capable of disabling ground targets without destroying them completely and without causing 'side losses' or 'collateral damage' among civilians."

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