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In March 2017, SMDC announced
completion of acceptance testing
on the Lockheed Martin 60-kilowatt
Spectrally Combined High Power
Solid State Fiber Laser, which had
demonstrated a sustained power of
57.5-kilowatt for a duration of 200
seconds with good beam quality.
It was the first successful demonstration of a high-power fiber laser
at that power level for defense
Army officials say the tests
exceeded the contract threshold
for success and, with the addition
of three more channels planned
before delivery, power will exceed
the 60-kilowatt program objective.
The laser will be integrated with
the HELMTT and used in test environments relevant to warfighting
The rise of solid-state lasers
“Currently, we are using solid-state
lasers — specifically combinable fiber
lasers that can be ganged together
to create a single beam coming out
of a beam director. For example, if I
had a 1-kilowatt fiber laser and could
combine 50 in such a way to create
a single defraction-limited beam, I
effectively have a 50-kilowatt system,” Aberle says. “There are multiple
means of combining those and the
limits are still being explored.
“There are non-linear effects that
limit power scaling of individual
fibers and one of our research investments is to develop techniques that
can overcome those. We have, in
partnership with the HEL JTO, developed a fiber combined laser at the
60-kilowatt class level. That laser has
been delivered and we are working
on integrating it into the HELMTT
and demonstrate it in 2018.”
During the Maneuver Fires
Integrated Experiment (MFIX)
last April at Fort Sill, Okla., an
Army specialist with no prior
experience with the system
became the first soldier to shoot
down a UAV — approximately
18-by- 10 inches in size — at 600
meters with a laser, the 5-kilo-
watt Mobile Expeditionary High
Energy Laser (MEHEL) mounted
on a Stryker armored vehicle. The
test was designed to determine
how well the average soldier can
adapt and effectively use the new