Lockheed Martin’s prototype laser weapon successfully disabled military-grade speed boats in under 30 seconds on Wednesday.
ADAM, or Area Defence Anti-Munitions, is a laser weapon initiative that is designed to provide affordable defence against short-range threats.
Although still in a prototype phase, ADAM managed to burn through multiple layers of the rubber hull of military-grade speed boats in less than 30 seconds from a mile away.
The boat is stationary while the laser melts its hull. It’s unclear if the current version of the laser will be as effective if the boat continued to move at full speed.
ADAM is particularly effective at tracking boats, which might otherwise be obscured from vision due to waves, since it follows its targets via infrared signatures.
The weapon could be particularly effective for the U.S. Navy if an enemy engages them with swarm tactics. Iran, for example, relies on a fleet of hundreds of heavily armed small boats that could overwhelm more advanced Navy warships through sheer numbers.
This swarm strategy becomes significantly less effective if Navy ships were to be outfitted with ADAM, which could effectively track and destroy enemy boats at amazing speeds. However, ADAM does not quite yet seem ready to work in that capacity.
ADAM can follow boats through their maneuvers and behind waves.
Once locked on, ADAM’s laser burns through the boats hull, filling the ship with water.
It is important to note that in the tests, the boat was stationary when it was destroyed. Had the boat been moving, it might have taken longer to disable it.
ADAM ultimately managed to fully disable the speed boat, rendering it inoperable.
Below is the Lockheed Martin video showcasing ADAM’s speed boat trial:
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