MBDA Germany successfully tested a 10kW laser illuminator designed for use with future Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) laser weapon system. The laser evaluated in the recent test series was a 10kW illuminator matched with beam direction optics trough geometric coupling technology patented by MBDA Germany. The system enabled the laser to dwell for few seconds on a moving target, located more than two kilometers away while retaining a high quality beam. According to EADS announcement the system demonstrated tracking of dynamic objects and the effects on the object, performed over a distance of more than 2,300 m and an altitude differential of 1,000 m under real-life environmental conditions.
The successful tests by MBDA Germany have been conducted on behalf of the German Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) at the latter’s WTD 52 testing site.
A laser weapon capable of engaging incoming rockets and mortars could offer an important improvement in the capability to protect forward operating bases. Yet, developing an operation system must overcome some significant technical challenges – the wide variety of threat types – high speed artillery munitions, small, low signature mortar munitions, and simultaneous threat posed by rocket salvos dictate target intercept at ranges beyond 1,000 meters. Operating at the speed of light, the laser weapon offers the optimal solution addressing different facets of the challenge with highly responsive, adaptive engagement process.
However, since countermeasures against RAM must be carried out within a few seconds, it is necessary to achieve high laser power and a high quality laser beam against a fast moving target at distances of between 1,000 m and 3,000 m. This is the only way to guarantee the protection of a field camp using such a laser weapon.
According to MBDA Germany this demonstration lays the groundwork for the development of a C- RAM laser weapon system. The program began in 2009 as part of a European Defence Agency (EDA) study. Following the recent demonstration, the team lead by MBDA Germany will conduct hardware integration and final selection of a platform for the laser weapon system, in close consultation with users and suppliers. MBDA Germany comprises LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme GmbH together with its subsidiaries (TDW and Bayern-Chemie).