Laser guns and giant laser cannons are a staple of science fiction. In real life the technology has finally caught up to the fantasy in recent years. Recently Lockheed Martin, the aerospace, defense and technology company that builds all of America’s wonderful toys tested out a new laser weapon.
A fiber optic laser named ATHENA fired a laser beam from over a mile away and hit it’s intended target; a truck with the engine running, rendering it immobile. Pew-pew!
Someone better check the Carfax on the resale of that truck.
While the truck was raised off the ground with the engine running for the purpose of the test, the battlefield implications are huge. According to Lockheed Martin this type of laser targeting will allow the military to stop vehicles without having to use lethal force. However, if that hole in the hood of the truck was instead on someone’s chest, I’m not exactly sure how that qualifies as “nonlethal.”
To be fair, this could save lives; being able to precisely target a vehicle charging at a military base and destroy the engine without it exploding does have its benefits. The company has also been testing out it’s Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) laser turret that is designed to shoot down rockets in mid-air.
ADAM works by combining smaller lasers into one big powerful laser…
Some of the stuff Lockheed Martin is working on is pretty amazing; this past year they also announced that they are working on a compact fusion reactor that could potentially solve all of the world’s energy needs by essentially creating a mini sun. Cool.
Follow Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney