Lockheed demonstrates 30-kilowatt fiber optic laser for military use

Jan. 28, 2014 at 4:21 PM
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BOTHELL, Wash., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin announced Tuesday it has successfully demonstrated a weapons-grade, high-powered fiber optic laser.

The 30-kilowatt laser, which combines many fiber lasers into a single, "near-perfect" band of light, produces the highest power ever documented while retaining beam quality and electrical efficiency while using 50 percent less electrical power than solid-state lasers, the Bethesda, Md., company said.

"Lockheed Martin has opened the aperture for high-power, electrically driven laser systems suitable for military applications," said Ray O. Johnson, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Lockheed Martin. "Advancements in available laser components, along with the maturity and quality of our innovative beam-combining technology, support our goal of providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for use on military platforms such as aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks."

Lockheed, which funded research and development of the laser, said the system uses a process called spectral beam combining, which sends beams from multiple fiber laser modules, each with a unique wavelength, into a combiner that forms a single, powerful, high-quality beam.

"The high-energy laser serves as the heart of a laser weapon system," Johnson said. "This 30-kilowatt milestone shows our commitment to producing the high-beam quality and high power needed to address a variety of military 'speed-of-light' defensive operations."

Additional details on the laser system and the demonstration were not provided.

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