The future was always going to have lasers used as weapons, science fiction has told us so. Now sci-fi is science fact at last as Lockheed Martin has shown off its Athena laser capable of stopping a car from over a mile away.

By stopping a car we mean this sharp-shooting laser can punch a hole through the bonnet and into the engine of a car, stopping it in its tracks. So maybe sci-fi was wrong when it presumed everything a laser shoots gets blown up. But that's a good thing in real life as it means less loss of life.

The Athena laser should be effective for stopping cars loaded with explosives which are a very real issue for military personnel in war zones. Now rather than having to destroy a potential threat vehicle, and its driver, the car can simply be stopped dead before it gets close to anyone.

Lockheed Martin showed off the laser on a stationary truck with its engine running, as shown in the above photo. It works by combining several fibre-optic lasers, similar to its current Adam system, into one focused beam that's powerful enough to do that sort of damage from a mile away. Yes, just like the Death Star.

This suggests it will be an aerial vehicle mounted measure when it goes into use. Just another reason to be afraid of drones then.

READ: Lockheed Martin N+2 supersonic jet can go from NY to LA in just over two hours