Air Force shows counter-UAV laser weapons based on fiber lasers that can defeat threat of drone swarms

Nov. 19, 2019
The ATHENA counter-UAV system is a 30 kilowatt laser weapon that combines the power of three 10-kilowatt fiber lasers into one 30 kilowatt beam.

FORT SILL, Okla. – A laser weapons system burned several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) out of the sky at a U.S. Army base in Oklahoma, demonstrating it can handle several threats per engagement. Popular Mechanics reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

19 Nov. 2019 -- The U.S. military is pushing to develop counter-UAV laser weapons as a counter to the threat of drone swarms against military bases, especially air bases, where a single drone can do a lot of damage against multi-million dollar aircraft.

Advanced Test High Energy Asset, or ATHENA, is a 30 kilowatt laser weapon system that uses the 30 kilowatt Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) laser. ALADIN combines the power of three 10 kilowatt fiber lasers into a single 30 kilowatt beam.

The use of several lasers means it can also operate at lower levels, say 10 or 20 kilowatts, if necessary. Thirty kilowatts is sufficient to inflict structural damage against drones, causing them to fall out of the sky.

Related: Northrop Grumman developing adjustable-power laser weapons to attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

Related: DARPA researchers want small fiber laser diode for laser weapons in future combat aircraft

Related: Air Force reaching out to industry for latest in high-power fiber lasers for airborne laser weapons

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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