Lockheed to Develop Weapons Grade Fiber Laser for US Army

By on Monday, April 28th, 2014

The U.S. Army has awarded Lockheed Martin a $25 million contract to design, build and test a 60-kilowatt electric laser to be integrated and tested in a truck-mounted weapon system demonstrator. The laser weapon is designed to significantly improve the warfighters’ ability to counter rockets, artillery, mortars and unmanned aerial threats.

Under a contract managed by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Technical Center, the Lockheed Martin-provided laser will be integrated on the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD). This ruggedized laser builds on the corporation’s work under the current Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI) contract for the Army.

“Lockheed Martin continues to advance its high-energy fiber laser technology to provide a proven, affordable weapon architecture that supports the size, weight, and power constraints our customers face,” said Paula Hartley, vice president of Advanced Product Solutions for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business. “Our solution is much smaller, lighter and more electrically efficient than others in the market and can bring tremendous value to the Army and other military customers.”

The corporation’s electric laser system implements multiple compact, rugged fiber laser modules to generate a high power output beam with excellent beam quality and high electrical efficiency. A unique spectral beam combining process is used to combine many fiber lasers into a single beam of light that retains the high beam quality of the individual fiber modules while reaching the 60 kilowatt mark.

Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin announced it had demonstrated a 30-kilowatt fiber laser, the highest power ever documented while retaining beam quality and electrical efficiency. The internally funded research and development demonstration was achieved by combining many fiber lasers into a single, near-perfect quality beam of light—all while using approximately 50 percent less electricity than alternative solid-state laser technologies.

This successful demonstration marked a significant milestone on the path to deploying a mission-relevant laser weapon system for a wide range of air, land and sea military platforms.

Lockheed Martin has specialized in directed energy laser weapon system development for the past 30 years and purchased Aculight in 2008 to further strengthen its offerings at every level—from pioneering research to solid prototyping and flexible manufacturing.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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