Lockheed Martin is to take a huge step forward with its high-energy laser weapon systems, scaling its next iteration to 500kW output – the most powerful laser the company has produced.
The announcement comes on the heels of the recent delivery of the Lockheed Martin 300kW-class laser to US DoD under the second phase of the Department’s High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI). The aim is to increase the power level while simultaneously achieving excellent beam quality and optimising size, weight, volume and efficiency. Ultimately, proving this capability will reduce risk for DoD’s Defense acquisition and fielding of high-powered laser weapon systems for all six military branches.
“The 500-kW laser will incorporate our successes from the 300-kW system and lessons learned from legacy programs to further prove the capability to defend against a range of threats,” said Rick Cordaro, VP of Mission Systems & Weapons.
The 500-kW device will be tactically configured, using Lockheed Martin’s proven spectral beam combined architecture to support military platforms, and will incorporate DoD’s Modular Open System Approach (MOSA) standards to ensure interoperability and multi-mission integration. Combining much greater power than current solutions with the deep magazine capability of laser weapons makes the next solution to emerge from the Lockheed Martin laser stable an attractive proposition for planners and operators.
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(Image: A conceptual rendering of the proposed HELSI laser weapon, aimed at supporting a wide range of missions including C-UAS. Credit: Lockheed Martin)