British military vehicles will soon come with high-energy laser weapons capable of zapping threats in all weathers.
The system is said to offer a nearly infinite number of shots and precision accuracy with very low collateral damage, making it an affordable alternative to traditional munitions.
Designed to stop aerial threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the 15-kilowatt laser is the latest development in the MoD’s Land Demonstrator programme.
Raytheon UK said the high-energy laser weapon system has performed as designed in multiple field tests, including in difficult weather conditions with extreme heat, cold, rain, sleet and snow.
During four days of live-fire exercises earlier this year in the US, the system successfully acquired, tracked, targeted and destroyed dozens of drone targets in short-range attack, swarm attack and long-range threat scenarios.
The company said it is building on the success of US investment, where a total of eight high-energy laser weapons have been delivered to the US military. The systems have defeated more than 400 targets over 25,000 operational hours.
‘The arrival of this transformative technology is an important milestone in our collaboration with the MoD on using directed energy to address a variety of threats, from drones and UAVs to more complex missile systems,’ said Julie Finlayson-Odell, managing director of weapons and sensors at Raytheon UK.
The system is described as compact, portable, and can be installed on a variety of platforms, with the ability to connect to other air defence systems.
‘With deep, rechargeable magazine and minimal logistics, this laser weapon is an affordable and viable option to protect military and critical infrastructure, and rapidly defeat threats,’ said Raytheon UK.