Lockheed Martin Trials Next Generation Laser-Based Missile/UAV Defense System
November 30, 2012 12:40 PM
comment(s) - last by
Using high energy lasers could reduce the cost of shooting down missiles and UAVs, while improving accuracy
The Middle Eastern nation of Israel is currently in the midst of a dire real world test of the
most ambitious missile defense system
in history --
. While the system cost billions to deploy, in the recent conflict along the Gaza Strip border it has paid off. The system has intercepted an estimated 80 to 90 percent of missiles that are directed at populated targets (as the enemy's missiles are improvised and hand-launched, many land harmlessly in the desert; the system ignores those marks).
In the U.S., Lockheed Martin Corp. (
), one of the world's largest defense contractors, is testing a high-tech missile defense system that could one day replace or supplement missile-based interceptor systems like Iron Dome.
The Lockheed system is dubbed the "
Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM)
system" and packs a powerful 10-kilowatt laser capable of destroying targets up to 2 km (1.24 mi) away.
In a field test of ADAM, the system "successfully engaged" (sounds like a hit, but not necessarily destruction of) an unmanned aerial vehicle at a distance of 1.5 km (0.9 mi). The system also "destroyed" not one, but four "small-caliber rocket targets" at a range of 2 km.
This is the image seen from the ADAM system as it locks onto the UAV.
Lockheed Martin developed the entire modular software/hardware package that powers targeting and interception. The system uses radar to locate threats and the built-in laser to eliminate them.
Paul Shattuck, Lockheed Martin’s director of directed energy systems for Strategic and Missile Defense Systems comments, "Lockheed Martin has applied its expertise as a laser weapon system integrator to provide a practical and affordable defense against serious threats to military forces and installations. In developing the ADAM system, we combined our proven laser beam control architecture with commercial hardware to create a capable, integrated laser weapon system."
An artist's rendering of the 10 kw laser-based ADAM interceptor system
An important limitation of the system is its line-of-sight (LOS) requirement. As the destructive force is delivered via a laser light beam, it can only target projectiles it can "see". This shortcoming may lead traditional interceptors to be used closer to populate regions (where exploding missiles directly overhead could endanger citizens), but supplemented by laser-based interceptor system on the border of a hostile neighbor entity/state.
The capability to intercept UAVs is particularly interesting. While the U.S. has long had a relative hegemony on the emerging combat technology, which it has fielded in combat operations
in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan
, of late several hostile nation-states have been working to develop UAVs of their own. Most notably Iran, known for voicing strong
, anti-Israeli sentiments, showed off his
"Messenger of Death" drone bomber
it is developing
, aided by
seized U.S. UAV flier
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
11/30/2012 5:48:04 PM
I wonder how it compares with the Centurion C-RAM and Iron Dome? I imagine lasers might have a very limited number of shots. I think most cost effective would be a few C-RAMs near the northern boreder of Gaza, then a couple Iron Dome installations further out for anything important missed.
Basically bullets being the cheapest, missiles next and lasers too expensive for anything other than ICBM's.
11/30/2012 6:00:02 PM
It will depend on what sort of laser they are using. If it's a chemical laser, then yes, it will likely be too expensive per shot to be practical. The biggest issue with C-RAM or CIWS systems is that the number of bullets they fire to kill a target is quite high. Bullets may be cheap, but the maintenance of the systems to maintain such a high ROF isn't.
11/30/2012 6:13:07 PM
There's also the issue of all the bullets that miss eventually have to hit the ground. May not be as much an issue at sea but definitely an issue around population centers.
"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
Iron Dome Helps Mitigate 1 in 3 Rocket Strikes on Israel as Gaza Conflict Escalates
November 19, 2012, 4:30 PM
Iran Brags It's Cracking U.S. Spy Drone, Sen. Lieberman Calls Claim "Bluster"
April 23, 2012, 2:25 PM
Iran Mocks U.S. With Toy Version of Downed Spy Drone, Reserves Pink One for Obama
January 17, 2012, 11:27 PM
U.S. to Iran: Give Us Back Our Drone
December 13, 2011, 8:26 AM
Iran Launches "Messenger of Death" Drone Bomber, Turns on Nuclear Reactor
August 23, 2010, 10:00 AM
Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen Donates $100M to Fight Raging Ebola Epidemic
October 23, 2014, 6:05 PM
Cool Science Video of the Day: Carnivorous Leech Eats Giant Jungle Worm
October 16, 2014, 6:44 PM
Facebook CEO and Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Donates $25M to Fight Ebola
October 14, 2014, 5:06 PM
Chagrined Over Leaks, CDC Confirms First U.S. Ebola Diagnosis in Dallas, Texas
September 30, 2014, 5:55 PM
Nail Polish May Soon be Able to Detect Date Rape Drugs
August 26, 2014, 7:57 AM
SpaceX Falcon 9-R Rocket Suffers Malfunction, Self-Destructs During Test Flight
August 23, 2014, 9:36 AM
Most Popular Articles
Chinese Government Declares Digital War Against America's Top Tech Firms
October 20, 2014, 12:07 PM
Samsung Announces Galaxy S5 Plus with Snapdragon 805 Processor, LTE-A
October 22, 2014, 3:40 PM
Windows 8.1 + Android "Sell Mini PC" w/ Bay Trail Creates New PC Form Factor
October 20, 2014, 5:07 PM
Apple's iPad Air 2 Features Triple-core A8X Processor, 2GB of RAM
October 21, 2014, 8:32 PM
Apple Releases iOS 8.1; Adds Apple Pay Support, SMS Relay, Instant Hotspot
October 20, 2014, 1:00 PM
Latest Blog Posts
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information