A US aerospace company claims to have developed a new laser weapon that can stop a small truck dead in its tracks from more than a mile away.
The laser system, called Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) is designed to protect military forces and key infrastructure, the company said.
During a recent field test, the laser managed to burn through and disable a small truck’s engine, ‘Live Science’ reported.
The truck was not driving normally; it was on a platform with the engine and drivetrain running, the company said.
According to the company, the milestone is the highest power ever documented by a laser weapon of its type.
“Fibre-optic lasers are revolutionising directed energy systems,” Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin’s chief technology officer, said.
“This test represents the next step to providing lightweight and rugged laser-weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks,” said Jackson.
ATHENA could boost the military because the laser can stop ground-based adversaries from interfering with operations long before they reach the front lines, Lockheed Martin said.
The system takes multiple lasers and mashes them into one. This beam “provides greater efficiency and lethality than multiple individual 10-kilowatt lasers used in other systems,” it said.