It wasn't a projectile or ammunition that destroyed this truck. But rather, a laser:
Defense and aerospace company Lockheed Martin announced this week that its new fiber-optic laser weapon system, dubbed ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset), successfully took out a small truck “from more than a mile away” during a recent field test.
The ATHENA system uses a technique called "spectral beam combining," which involves merging multiple laser modules to create a single and super-powerful 30-kilowatt laser beam. The system is described as having the “highest power ever documented by a laser weapon of its type."
“To put that in perspective, the laser in an everyday pointer might be about 1 milliwatt, or 3 million times less,” said Motherboard.
The truck had been resting on props for the field test, but its engine and drivetrain were reportedly running to simulate a real vehicle threat. The laser is said to have disabled the truck’s engine in a “matter of seconds.”
Rather than causing the engine to explode, as per Hollywood, the truck was simply rendered unable to move. Reading between the lines, perhaps Lockheed believes that the gear will be a useful, potentially non-lethal precaution against explosive vehicles being driven, at speed, towards infrastructure points, guard towers or military bases.
Keoki Jackson, chief technology officer of Lockheed Martin, said in a statement that the ATHENA test “represents the next step to providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks.”
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