Beam Combined Fibre Laser Sets World Record
Lockheed Martin has completed design, development and demonstration of a 60kW-class beam combined fibre laser, producing a single beam of 58kW earlier this month – a world record for a laser of this type.
The laser system met all contractual deliverables now being prepared for shipping to US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command in Huntsville, AL. Based on a design developed under DoD’s Robust Electric Laser Initiative Program and further developed through investments by Lockheed Martin and the US Army into a 60kW-class system, it is a beam combined fibre laser, meaning it brings together individual lasers generated through fibre optics to form a single, intense laser beam. This allows for a scalable laser system that can be made more powerful by adding further fibre laser subunits.
“Delivery of this laser represents an important milestone along the path to fielding a practical laser weapon system,” said Paula Hartley, vice president, Owego, New York general manager and Advanced Product Solutions within Lockheed Martin’s Cyber, Ships & Advanced Technologies line of business. “This milestone could not have been achieved without close partnership between the US Army and Lockheed Martin; we are pleased to be able to deliver this system for their further integration and evaluation.”
“The inherent scalability of this beam combined laser system has allowed us to build the first 60kW-class fiber laser for the U.S. Army,” said Dr. Robert Afzal, senior fellow for Laser and Sensor Systems. “We have shown that a powerful directed energy laser is now sufficiently light-weight, low volume and reliable enough to be deployed on tactical vehicles for defensive applications on land, at sea and in the air.”
According to Afzal, the Lockheed Martin team created a laser beam that was near “diffraction-limited,” meaning it was close to the physical limits for focusing energy toward a single, small spot. The laser system also proved to be highly efficient in testing, capable of translating more than 43 percent of the electricity that powered it directly into the actual laser beam it emitted.