Could this be developed into a missile killer – like maybe for ICBMs?
It was 5-0 at the US Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico as a Lockheed Martin prototype laser weapon system shot down five unmanned drones with a 100 percent success rate. The August test of the Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) system against five Outlaw drones was designed to demonstrate how the system’s advanced beam control technology and an solid-state fiber laser could decisively destroy unmanned aerial threats.
In a video released by Lockheed, the transportable, ground-based ATHENA system shot down the five 10.8-ft (3.3-m) wingspan Outlaws by focusing its 30 kW Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) laser at the aircraft’s stern control surfaces until they burned off, sending the drones crashing into the desert floor.
ATHENA is a test-bed, single-mode laser system that’s based on the company’s Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) laser weapon system which uses a process that the company calls Spectrum Beam Combining. This consists of fiber laser modules where the active gain medium are made of an optical fiber doped with a rare-earth element like erbium, ytterbium, or neodymium. The optical fibers are flexible, so the laser can be thousands of meters long for greater gain, while taking up very little space because it can be coiled like a rope.