In tests off the California coast, a Lockheed Martin prototype laser system successfully disabled two boats at a range of approximately 1.6 kilometers (approximately 1 mile). These were the first tests of the Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system against maritime targets.
Lockheed Martin is developing the transportable, ground-based ADAM laser system to demonstrate a practical, affordable defense against short-range threats, including Qassam-like rockets, unmanned aerial systems and small boats.
In less than 30 seconds, the ground-based system’s high-energy laser burned through multiple compartments of the rubber hull of the military-grade small boats operating in the ocean. Lockheed Martin previously demonstrated the system’s capabilities in countering representative airborne targets in flight, including small-caliber rocket targets and an unmanned aerial system target. The system can precisely track moving targets at a range of more than 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), and its 10-kilowatt fiber laser can engage targets up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away.
“Our laser weapon initiatives leverage commercial products and processes, focusing on affordability for the user,” said Dr. Ray O. Johnson, Lockheed Martin senior vice president and chief technology officer. “Lockheed Martin continues to invest in advancing fiber laser and beam control technologies, as these successful ADAM tests demonstrate.”
The ADAM design pairs commercial hardware components with Lockheed Martin’s laser beam control architecture and software to affordably provide the performance needed for close-in threats, along with a virtually unlimited “magazine” at a low cost per engagement.
“Our ADAM system tests have shown that high-energy lasers are ready to begin addressing critical defense needs,” said Tory Bruno, president of Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. “Putting revolutionary technologies to work in practical applications is a hallmark of innovation at Lockheed Martin.”
Press Release, May 8, 2014; Image: Lockheed Martin