Lockheed Martin Has a Laser For the Army
While everyone complains about the fact that they don't have a jetpack or a flying car yet, the military has patiently waited for its killer laser beams. Lockheed Martin says that it will hand off exactly that to the
The weapons manufacturer says it has successfully tested a new laser weapon at 58 kilowatts of power. To give an idea of what that means, Boeing was able to
blow a mortar out of the sky
in 2014 with its
The combined fiber laser uses multiple individual
It still isn't small enough to make a handheld blaster and it wouldn't be used for targeting individual people. The goal is to combat small aircraft, drones, and rockets. Offensive capabilities would likely be possible, but impractical. As technology has become more affordable, non-state combatants like ISIS have had easier access to drones and remote-controlled machine guns. Lasers are believed to be a system that would be effective at targeting those systems for little cost. Recently Gen. David Perkins gave a presentation in which he discussed a $3 million Patriot missile being used to take down a $300 drone. A laser interception of that same drone would come at the price of a little bit of electricity and travel at the speed of light.
Unfortunately, Lockheed's tech keeps the worst part of laser guns: potentially killing people. But it doesn't have the best part: visible laser beams. The concept illustrations only show a red beam for effect.