Pentagon’s No. 1 weapons supplier, Lockheed Martin Corp., recently demonstrated its laser system for the United States Air Force at a government testing ground in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where the system successfully ignited and shot down. Multiple fixed-wing drones and remote-controlled rotors.
The Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) operated in a combat environment fully connected with a command and control system (C2) and a radar sensor.
The radar trace was provided to the aviators operating ATHENA through the C2 signals, then the ATHENA beam director turned, captured, tracked and shot down the remote control plane with a high energy laser.
The validation of this type of performance of the entire attack chain has been a priority of the United States Air Force and other branches of the Department of Defense, and remains a requirement for laser weapons to be effective against non-air systems. manned (UAS) on the battlefield.
“We have seen in recent news that this type of laser weapon solution is essential to deter threats from unmanned vehicles, so it is an exciting time for us to see airmen compete with Lockheed Martin’s critical technology. ATHENA has evolved to ensure that integration and agility are key and remains an affordable capacity for the combatant,” said Sarah Reeves, vice president of Missile Defense Programs at Lockheed Martin.
The ATHENA system was developed by Lockheed Martin to integrate seamlessly and provide a cost-effective and complementary anti-drone capability with the network of systems the combatant is already using.
ATHENA was operated by personnel of the United States Air Force (USAF) during this demonstration, and was able to destroy multiple drones in combat representative of what the United States armed forces are currently finding.
The ATHENA high energy laser system is transportable and, therefore, allows the Air Force to locate it in any place where it is necessary to defend bases and assets of high value.