The US Defense News weekly website reported that Lockheed Martin has officially started delivering a 60-kilowatt laser to the US Army. In a test conducted earlier this month, this laser produced a single beam of 58 kilowatts, setting a world record for this laser pointer.
At the previous Abu Dhabi International Defense Exhibition, China exhibited a low-altitude laser air defense system “Silent Hunter”, which is mainly used to intercept low-altitude drones. From the appearance, the two are quite similar. According to the brochure distributed on site, the standard output power of the “Silent Hunter” is 30 kW. Since this is the publicly displayed version, some experts estimate that the actual output power of “Silent Hunter” may be greater.
In this regard, Professor Wang Qun, a military expert at the National Security and Military Strategic Research Center of the National University of Defense Technology, told Sci-Tech Daily: “The development of China’s laser weapons is closely following the world trend, and its technological level is directly catching up with the United States and not losing to Russia. According to some foreign media, China’s rapid pace of development has shown that it has changed the situation of the United States in the field of laser weapon research in recent years. However, in a strict sense, laser weapons must be actually put into actual combat. There are some restrictions.”
The Pentagon regards the research and development of directed energy weapons as a key task. They believe that the use of lasers will greatly reduce the cost of weapon launches. The delivery of the aforementioned 60-kilowatt laser to the Army is considered by the media as another important milestone in the development of directed energy weapons. Compared with traditional weapons, laser weapons have a series of advantages, such as fast strike speed, high accuracy of hit, rapid fire reaction, good suddenness of attack, strong continuous combat effectiveness, excellent lethal effect, outstanding multi-target strike ability, and small incidental damage. There is no sound, no pollution, controllable strength, no electromagnetic interference, easy protection and low cost.
Chinese “silent hunters” can penetrate 5 layers of 2 mm thick steel plates at a distance of 800 meters. Compared with traditional anti-aircraft weapons, Silent Hunter first responds faster; secondly, it has a high interception hit rate and multi-target strike capability, which can complete the target switching and aiming within 6 seconds; thirdly, it is low-cost and only consumes electricity. The cost of a single transmission power is less than one dollar; in the end, the collateral damage is small, and a large amount of debris will not be formed.
“This shows that the “silent hunter” has basically possessed the main advantages of the green laser pointer. From the information disclosed by the media, it is speculated that it should belong to a solid tactical laser weapon. At present, the United States has the highest level of laser weapon development and the best development. Several tactical laser weapon systems represented by warship-based regional defense laser weapon systems have already started actual combat tests two years ago.