ATHENA Advanced Test High Energy Asset ADAM Area Defense Anti-Munitions

Lockheed Martin reported March 3, 2015 that a 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon system successfully disabled the engine of a small truck during a recent field test, demonstrating the rapidly evolving precision capability to protect military forces and critical infrastructure.

Known as ATHENA, for Advanced Test High Energy Asset, the ground-based prototype system burned through the engine manifold in a matter of seconds from more than a mile away. The truck was mounted on a test platform with its engine and drive train running to simulate an operationally-relevant test scenario.

“Fiber-optic lasers are revolutionizing directed energy systems," said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin chief technology officer. “We are investing in every component of the system – from the optics and beam control to the laser itself – to drive size, weight and power efficiencies. This test represents the next step to providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks."

The demonstration marked the first field testing of an integrated 30-kilowatt, single-mode fiber laser weapon system prototype. Through a technique called spectral beam combining, multiple fiber laser modules form a single, powerful, high-quality beam that provides greater efficiency and lethality than multiple individual 10-kilowatt lasers used in other systems.

ATHENA is based on the Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) laser weapon system developed by Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, California, which has been proven in demonstrations against small airborne and sea-based targets. It incorporates the 30-kilowatt Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) fiber laser developed by the company in Bothell, Washington.

Lockheed Martin’s Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system is a prototype laser weapon system that is designed to defeat close-in improvised rocket, and unmanned aerial system (UAS) and small boat threats. Lockheed Martin based the system on commercial hardware paired with the corporation’s beam control architecture and software to provide the performance needed for these types of threats.

Providing short-range defense of high-value areas including forward operating bases, the ADAM system is designed to track targets at a range of more than 5 kilometers and to destroy targets at a range of up to 2 kilometers.

This ground-based, transportable system is self-contained to conduct the full engagement sequence against rockets and accepts an initial external radar cue to engage UASs. For rocket threats, the ADAM system detects the threat and within seconds locks on the target and establishes an aim point. When the ADAM system declares a valid aim point, it fires the laser on the target long enough to negate the rocket, or UAS, or small boat.

Lockheed Martin developed the ADAM system under independent research and development funding and Lockheed Martin has successfully demonstrated the prototype in a series of tests against representative airborne and maritime targets.

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