Insane New Laser Gun Can Blow Stuff Up From Over A Mile Away
Lockheed Martin, a company that specializes in global security, has created a laser that brought down a truck from over a mile away.
The fiber-optic weapon is called ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset), according to the Huffington Post, and its 30-kilowatt laser beam was described by the defense and aerospace company as possessing the "highest power ever documented by a laser weapon of its type."
For a comparison, HuffPost reports, a common laser pointer usually has about 1 milliwatt of power.
The truck in the test was propped up, and its engine was running to see the effect the laser had on its mechanics.
While other weapons might have blown the vehicle to bits, ATHENA instead targeted only the truck's engine to render it immobile.
In a real-life situation, this precision may save the lives of the truck's occupants and prevent whatever cargo they're transporting from exploding.
It reportedly took the laser just a few seconds to reach the truck.
According to Engadget, ATHENA's blast is generated by what is known as "spectral beam combining," or when numerous lasers are fired at a single target simultaneously to form one beam.
The site notes the similarity between this technique and that of the Death Star, when it obliterated the planet Alderaan in "Star Wars: A New Hope."
Chief technology officer of Lockheed Martin Keoki Jackson said in a statement that ATHENA “represents the next step in providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks.”
ATHENA's financial information was not disclosed, but lasers are typically much cheaper to fire than conventional ammunition.