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Val Kilmer’s Worst Fears Come True With Lockheed Martin’s Recent Laser Test

No Kent, it’s not God and not exactly the Crossbow Project either. But it is the most powerful laser weapon of its type.

Earlier this week, Lockheed Martin reported that it has used its ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset) laser weapon to disable a running truck from over a mile away. The 30-kilowatt laser melted through the hood of the truck and disabled its engine in this “operationally-relevant” test.

KilmerLaser_PICLockheed Martin is still insisting that this laser technology is defensive only, and won’t be used on living targets. Which is good news if you’re not a fan of disintegrating people. (Click to enlarge)

How does this truck-trouncing laser compare to say, what the US Navy is using to explode boats? Both lasers are rated at 30 kilowatts, or about the same power output of a small car.

Lockheed’s laser, however, works differently. Using a technique called spectral beam combining, “multiple fiber laser modules form a single, powerful, high-quality beam that provides greater efficiency and lethality than multiple individual 10-kilowatt lasers used in other systems,” according to Lockheed’s press release.

In other words, kind of like the Death Star.

And for all you Chris Knights out there, this laser weapon, as strong as it is, is still 200 times less powerful than the fictional laser used in Real Genius. I bet you could still pop a lot of popcorn with it though.

IMAGE: Lockheed Martin

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