Lockheed Martin is increasing the power of its most powerful laser.

Lockheed Martin will scale its laser technology to a new level, producing a 500 kW-class laser, the most powerful laser Lockheed Martin has ever produced, surpassing the 300 kW-class laser power level developed under a contract from the Department of Defense’s Office of the Under Secretary of Defence for Research and Engineering, OUSD (R&E). The 500 kW-class laser is the second phase of the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI), which was recently awarded a new contract by OUSD (R&E). This HELSI phase attempts to enhance laser power while maintaining outstanding beam quality and optimising efficiency, size, weight, and volume for continuous-wave high-energy laser sources. Demonstrating this capability will lower the risk of the Department of Defence acquiring and fielding high-powered laser weapon systems for all six armed branches.

“OUSD (R&E) has invested in the development of high energy lasers to support America’s warfighters.” Simultaneously, Lockheed Martin has invested in its production infrastructure in anticipation of the Department of Defense’s demand for laser weapons with additional layers of protection, deep magazines, low cost per engagement, high speed of light delivery, and high precision response, reducing logistics requirements, according to Rick Cordaro, vice president of Mission Systems & Weapons at Lockheed Martin. “The 500-kW laser will build on the successes of the 300-kW system as well as lessons learned from legacy programmes to demonstrate the capability to defend against a wide range of threats.”

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