Zap! New Laser Can Kill a Car from a Mile Away
Imagine driving along, minding your own nefarious business, until – zap! – the hood of your car or truck begins to bubble and you slowly grind to a halt. It might sound like something out of a futuristic action movie, but it isn't science fiction anymore. It's the latest advancement in Lockheed Martin's ATHENA laser weapon, a ground-based laser prototype that uses 30-kilowatt fiber-optic lasers to punch holes through things. In its latest tests, the material it seared right through was the engine manifold of a pickup truck, which it immobilized from over a mile away. The ATHENA system, or Advanced Test High Energy Asset, is based on Lockheed's prototype ADAM (Area Defense Anti-Munitions) system, which has already proven to be a successful means of disabling small airborne and sea-faring targets. Take a look at the ADAM in action. RELATED: This $15 million Lockheed Martin boat can be yours for much less
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The video test reveals the ADAM, a 10-kilowatt fiber laser, punched through the hull of a Zodiac-style boat in under 30 seconds from over a mile away. Lockheed hasn't revealed a specific time for its ATHENA, though it notes the multiple fiber lasers of the prototype ripped through the truck engine in “a matter of seconds” from a similar distance.
In the long run, Lockheed says it could provide a similar lightweight system for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks. While a bit unnerving, the benefits of such systems in a defensive role could save countless lives by staving off lethal force in favor of non-lethal vehicle immobilization.
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