Laser beam capable of burning hole in car from one mile away
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of BBC News
Posted: January 21st, 2019
The engine was destroyed after a weapon called an 'ATHENA', short for Advanced Test High Energy Asset, was fired at ... a truck from one mile away. This 30 kilowatt fibre-optic laser was manufactured by US defence company Lockheed Martin. They say it's the first time a ground-based system like theirs, combining multiple laser streams into one beam, has ever been successfully tested. Increasingly it looks like lasers will take centre stage on the battlefields of the future. Last year the US navy installed its first laser weapon system, called LaWs, on warship USS Ponce. Looking like a cross between a telescope and a cannon, it tracks a moving target before firing a high-intensity light beam strong enough to burn a hole through steel. You can't see the laser because it is on the infrared spectrum, but it is a versatile and cheap weapon. Each pulse of energy from the laser "costs under a dollar". It is also apparently easy to use. Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder told a press conference in December: "Any of you that can do Xbox or PS4, you'll be good with this." During testing this laser brought down a drone and took out a small boat. Footage of the test shows the speedboat bursting into flames. Laser weapons are currently banned for use against humans, according to the Geneva Convention, a series of rules which govern warfare.