Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) Testing
(Source: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory; issued March 28, 2017)
Early trials have been conducted as part of the LDEW project. Watch the video of a test laser melting a mortar bomb.

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) scientists are conducting trials that will enable Dstl to characterise the effectiveness of Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW), in support of the LDEW Capability Demonstrator. The programme will culminate in a technology demonstrator in 2019.

The goal of the programme is to demonstrate a standalone laser directed energy weapon system that is capable of acquiring, tracking and engaging aerial and surface targets at various ranges and in different weather conditions.

The project will enable the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Dstl to advise the MOD on the future procurement programme requirements and to establish a road map to an in-service capability. If it is successful, the first laser weapons could come into service in the mid-2020s.

Watch the video of a test laser melting a mortar bomb;



Early testing of laser capability at DSTL is already melting mortars.


Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriet Baldwin has said: “The UK has long enjoyed a reputation as a world leader in innovation and it is truly ground-breaking projects like the Laser Directed Energy Weapon which will keep this country ahead of the curve.

“The Defence Innovation Initiative and £800M Defence Innovation Fund aim to encourage imagination, ingenuity and entrepreneurship, in pursuit of maintaining a military advantage in the future.

“With a rising Defence budget, and a £178 billion equipment plan, our commitment to innovation will deliver a safer and more prosperous Britain.”

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Mortar Melted In UK Laser Weapon Test
(Source: Optics.org; posted March 29, 2017)
Laser weapon researchers at the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) say that their developmental system is already able to destroy a mortar bomb, with a full demonstrator anticipated just two years from now.

In a video (see below) posted by DSTL on the UK government’s web site, the laser weapon is shown melting a hole in the thick metal casing of a static 82 mm mortar bomb in “just seconds”.

Roadmap

According to the team, which expects laser weapons to enter active service in the mid-2020s if their development is successful, they could be used to down hostile drones, detonate fuel tanks, and even cut through the hulls of aircraft, ships, and armored vehicles.

“The goal of the program is to demonstrate a standalone laser directed energy weapon system that is capable of acquiring, tracking and engaging aerial and surface targets at various ranges and in different weather conditions,” reported DSTL.

The early test results come just a couple of months after the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) confirmed that it had awarded the “Dragonfire” development program to a consortium led by the missile systems company MBDA Systems.

MBDA, which is jointly owned by defense firms Airbus Group, BAE Systems, and Leonardo, has already developed demonstrator laser weapons through its MBDA Deutschland subsidiary, with a system said to have shown effective target tracking capability in tests last year.

As long ago as 2012, MBDA Deutschland said it had built a 40 kilowatt laser “gun” based around the combined power of four 10 kilowatt fiber lasers provided by key partner IPG Photonics - with the system able to destroy towed artillery shell "models" from a distance of 2 kilometers.

Aside from MBDA Systems, the Dragonfire consortium members include QinetiQ, Leonardo, GKN, Arke, BAE Systems and Marshall ADG.

The Dragonfire project will enable DSTL to advise the MOD on future procurement program requirements and to establish a roadmap to an in-service capability, said the lab. (end of excerpt)


Click here for the full story, on the Optics.org website.

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