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The German Armed Forces have recently fired a shipboard laser weapon against aerial targets. At the test the German frigate Sachsen successfully engaged drones at a short and very short range. Testing of the high-energy laser weapon will continue until mid-2023. These trials have now set the basic stage for introducing laser weapon systems and capabilities into the Bundeswehr – capabilities whose relevance is by no means restricted to the Navy, as defense industries are pressing ahead with laser weapon systems for multiple applications.
While large caliber weapons such as the M142 HIMARS and its M31 GMLRS rockets are making the headlines in the Russian-Ukrainian War, smaller, more agile guided rockets have evolved, utilizing the laser-guided light rockets. Initially, these weapons utilized standard launchers, but recent developments from Thales, BAE Systems, and L3Harris have optimized the use of such weapons by helicopters, special operations forces, and unmanned vehicles.
Rheinmetall Defense has introduced another variant of its Skyranger air defense weapon system, the Skyranger 30 HEL - a mobile, hybrid solution mounting the company's 30mm AHEAD with a laser onboard. As a hybrid solution, the Skyranger 30 HEL is designed to thwart the full range of current and future airborne threats. The interplay of a 30mm automatic cannon, guided missiles, and a high-energy laser (HEL) results in a mix of effectors unique in this combination. The Skyranger HEL was presented in public for the first time at a counter-drone event held last year by the Swiss procurement agency armasuisse in Bure, Switzerland.
The new laser will be deployed for a trial phase onboard the Germany Navy frigate Sachsen. The laser demonstrator consists of twelve nearly identical 2kW fiber laser modules with close to diffraction-limited beam quality. Employing spectral coupling technology, the laser peaks 20 KW of power, the technology has growth potential in the 100kW performance class.
Rheinmetall has tested a new laser weapon station that can carry laser weapons up to 100 kW power level and be integrated on combat vehicles. In recent tests, the system successfully engaged drones and mortar rounds at operationally relevant ranges. Equally suitable for ground, air and naval operations, the assemblies are modular and scalable in design, to meet different applications.
Laser beams are used for numerous applications and when associated with unmanned aerial systems are most likely used as drone killers. But under a new research supported by the US Defense Advanced Programs Research Agency (DARPA), lasers are used as a consistent power source for drones. DARPA plans to demonstrate this capability under the Stand-off Ubiquitous Power/Energy Replenishment - Power Beaming Demo (SUPER PBD), which will extend the mission of a Silent Falcon solar electric UAS using laser power.
The Raytheon Company and Dynetics are both developing laser weapon prototypes that will utilize 100 kW class laser weapons. One of the prototypes will be tested by the Army in 2022. Each company received $10 million from the U.S. Army recently, to build a High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD) prototype based on the Army Oshkosh tactical FMTV truck.
A new laser weapon demonstrator being built for the UK Ministry of Defence has been unveiled today by the UK Dragonfire consortium at DSEI 2017 in London. Known as the Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) the weapon offers a range of different engagement solutions depending on the tactical scenario, these include tracking, deterring, dazzling the sensors of a potential threat, up to damaging or destroying it.
A high-energy laser mounted on an Apache AH-64 attack helicopter acquired and hit an unmanned target during a recent firing test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The test was conducted by Raytheon and the U.S. Army Apache Program Management Office, in collaboration with U.S. Special Operations Command.
MBDA Deutschand unveiled a new laser effector for land and naval applications at the ILA 2016 airshow in Berlin. In the naval sector, laser effector systems could feature in both on board ship and port protection. Photo: MBDA
Rheinmetall and the German Bundeswehr have successfully tested a high-energy laser effector installed on a German warship operating on the high seas. For the test Rheinmetall mounted a 10-kilowatt high-energy laser (HEL) effector on a MLG 27 light naval gun mounted on the ship.
A 30-kilowatt electric fiber laser weapon system successfully disabled the engine of a pickup truck during a recent field test, demonstrating how such weapon grade lasers could be used to protect military forces and critical infrastructure.
The US Navy is operating high energy laser on the command ship leading the annual mine countermeasure exercise IMCMEX 2014. A revolutionary weapon system, the high power laser is designed to protect the vessel from attacks of Iranian fast boats.
Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system is a high-power, solid-state laser system developed by Lockheed Martin as a near-term laser weapon system, designed to defeat...