Lockheed Martin’s New Laser. Dr. Evil Would Be Proud.

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Lockheed Martin has announced its determination to make the world’s most powerful laser, a 500 kW-class one, as part of the HELSI program.

  • The 500-kW power level laser is to support military platforms in phase two of the Department of Defense’s HELSI effort.
  • The laser’s capabilities enhance Joint All-Domain Operations, enabling military forces to operate seamlessly across land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace domains.

In the July 28th news release, Lockheed Martin announced it was scaling its highest-powered laser to 500 Kilowatts (kW) power level, to support military platforms as part of phase two of the Department of Defense’s High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI) program.

Lockheed Martin, a leading aerospace and defense company, has unlocked a groundbreaking achievement in laser technology: a 500 kW-class laser, the most potent laser ever produced.

Developed under a contract from the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (OUSD R&E), The 500 kW-class laser would surpass the company’s previous “heavyweight champion,” its 300 kW-class laser. It actually demonstrates remarkable potential in terms of precision, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, effectively becoming a new milestone in modern warfare and defense strategies. Who’s worried? Pfft, I’m not worried. Are you worried?

The 500 kW-class laser represents the second phase of the HELSI efforts sponsored, to no one’s surprise, by the DoD. It focuses on increasing laser power while optimizing beam quality, efficiency, size, weight, and volume for continuous-wave high-energy laser sources. By achieving these goals, Lockheed Martin aims to reduce the risk associated with the DoD’s acquisition and implementation of high-powered laser weapon systems across all six military branches.

Rick Cordaro, Vice President of Mission Systems & Weapons at Lockheed Martin, emphasized the significance of this project in meeting the demands of the Department for advanced laser weapons.

“OUSD (R&E) has invested to mature high energy lasers in support of America’s warfighters. At the same time, Lockheed Martin has invested in our production infrastructure in anticipation of the Department of Defense’s demand for laser weapons that have additional layers of protection with deep magazines, low cost per engagement, high speed of light delivery, and high precision response, reducing logistics requirements. The 500-kW laser will incorporate our successes from the 300-kW system and lessons learned from legacy programs to further prove the capability to defend against a range of threats,” Cordaro said.

This would make Lockheed Martin’s new 500 kW-class laser the world’s most potent laser weapon to date. Its tactical configuration and adherence to Department of Defense Modular Open System Approach standards ensure system interoperability and multi-mission integration. This capability is crucial in providing speed and agility to Joint All-Domain Operations, where military forces can operate seamlessly across all domains – land, air, sea, space, and cyberspace.

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