Lockheed Martin boasts expertise in the auxiliary technologies needed to field laser weapons systems on military aircraft, ground vehicles, and ships.
“Our fiber lasers operate with an efficiency that generates less heat and exists in a smaller package allowing easier incorporation into various defense platforms. Our ALADIN laser has operated in the field for two years with no need for realignment, proving both the lethality and the reliability of our solutions,” said Dr. Rob Afzal, Senior Fellow, Laser Sensors and Systems.
The firm achieves this level of success through two key approaches:
- A straightforward, robust, scalable technique that combines multiple kilowatt lasers to attain weapon-level power: ALADIN produces the highest power ever documented by a laser of this type, while retaining excellent beam quality and electrical efficiency. Through a technique called spectral beam combining, multiple fiber laser modules form a single, powerful, high-quality beam that provides greater efficiency and lethality than multiple individual 10-kilowatt lasers. For less power input, the laser achieves greater power on the target.
- A beam control technology that uses mirrors, lenses, and windows to shape and adjust a laser’s energy: For laser devices with output as small as 10 kilowatts or as great as 1 megawatt, the company’s beam control optics and software algorithms fine-tune the energy stream into a focused beam. The energy travels through an optical system of mirrors, lenses, and windows that concentrate it and adjust it for distortions in the atmosphere it will pass through on the way to the target.
“Our beam control technology enables precision equivalent to shooting a beach ball off the top of the Empire State Building from the San Francisco Bay Bridge,” said Paul Shattuck, Director of Directed Energy systems.
All this indicates that Lockheed Martin’s research and developments are increasing the performance of laser weapon systems while shrinking their size, weight, and power consumption. This includes spectral beam combining, adaptive optics, precision pointing, line-of-sight stabilization, and air-flow control.
As an example of this incredible engineering, watch the video of the firm testing its layered laser defense system.