Army to get laser that can zap drones

March 17, 2017

Washington Post:

Lockheed Martin said Thursday it has finished a 60-kilowatt laser system for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and is preparing to hand it over to the Army for further testing. In initial tests, the company achieved 58 kilowatts of power but expects its laser to reach its full potential by the time of its delivery in the next few months.

The laser is what the company calls a “combined fiber” laser beam, bringing together individual lasers to form a single, stronger beam. Lockheed has been testing it at an installation in Bothell, Wash., and plans to ship it to an Army installation in Huntsville, Ala., in the next few months.

“We’re really at the dawn of an era of the utility of laser weapons,” said Robert Afzal, senior fellow for laser and sensor systems at Lockheed Martin. The Army’s specialized military vehicles “can now carry something which is small enough and powerful enough for what we believe will be militarily useful.”

Multiple military agencies and defense companies have been working on laser weapon capabilities. In 2014, Boeing published a video of its 10-kilowatt laser destroying a mortar in flight…

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