Rolls-Royce delivers power system for US military laser guns


Rolls-Royce has delivered an upgraded power system for use in a laser weapon being develop by Lockheed Martin which will be integrated and field tested next year.

Rolls-Royce’s ColdFire standalone thermal management and power system has been delivered to Lockheed Martin and will be integrated into a 100kw directed energy system the company is developing. The weapon is expected to be tested on a range next year.

This will be the latest field test of the Rolls-Royce ColdFire technology, developed at the company’s LibertyWorks advanced technology unit in Indianapolis, USA. The technology has been developed to support military customers to meet their needs for enhanced directed energy platforms.

John Shade, senior vice president of Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks Advanced Programs said, “Thermal management and power systems are a crucial enabler of directed energy reaching its full potential. Rolls-Royce has a proven track record in developing this technology and solving the challenges inherent in directed energy applications.”

Rolls-Royce has been developing technology for directed energy systems for more than a decade and has invested US$50 million in designing and testing systems in both laboratory and on ranges. The company said it will use this experience during the 2021 field test and demonstrate an ‘endless magazine’ capability, which far outperforms the limits of battery powered technology.

The company said that thermal management expertise is critical to the success of directed energy systems, due to the creation of a large amount of heat by the laser system and that its ColdFire technology has proven effective in solving this challenge.

The ColdFire system is designed to be  used in land-based, airborne and sea vessels. Lockheed Martin is engaged in several R&D programs developing directed energy systems for the US military.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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