Rolls-Royce powers directed energy extended laser field tests in collaboration with Lockheed Martin

Rolls-Royce has successfully demonstrated ‘deep magazine’ power capability for directed energy applications, powering multiple, extended laser field tests in collaboration with Lockheed Martin as part of the Layered Laser Defense (LLD) project.

Deep magazine power capability is crucial for directed energy applications, which can be limited by battery-only systems that require recharging or replacement of batteries after a short period of operation. The Rolls-Royce ColdFire system includes both battery-powered and near-continuous firing modes, through a compact and fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce M250 gas turbine engine which provides consistent, extended power to operate the laser application.

Powered by the Rolls-Royce system, Lockheed Martin’s laser weapon system successfully shot down flying targets during the recent field tests conducted in partnership with the Office of Naval Research at the US Army’s High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, says the company press release.

Lockheed Martin developed the 100kW-class LLD to demonstrate laser weapon system technologies in an integrated system. Coupled with a Rolls-Royce ColdFire power and thermal system, it provides nearly continuous firing capability to engage more types of targets, in larger numbers, with longer range, than previous systems. Paul Shattuck, Lockheed Martin, Director of Directed Energy Systems, said, “Our industry team worked together in great partnership to bring forward critical knowledge to build this compact laser weapon system with a near-limitless magazine.”

Rolls-Royce developed and tested the ColdFire system for over 10 years with USD50 million in company investment. In addition to providing power to the directed energy system, ColdFire offers effective cooling technology to dissipate the large amount of heat generated by the laser system.

(Image: Lockheed Martin)

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