New laser weapons being tested on Wiltshire ranges by army boffins

NEW ‘laser weapons’ have been tested in Wiltshire – using a £100 million weapon called DragonFire.
The Ministry of Defence’s Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) hosted the UK’s first high-powered, long-range laser-directed energy weapon (LDEW) trial on its ranges at Porton Down recently.
DragonFire uses advanced technology to track a target and focus a high-powered laser beam at it, ultimately destroying it.

The Wiltshire trials involved firing the UK DragonFire demonstrator at a number of targets over a number of ranges, demanding pinpoint accuracy from the beam director.
Dstl’s technical partner, Ben Maddison, said: “This trial is the culmination of design, development and demonstration activity over a number of years.

“DragonFire has already successfully demonstrated an ability to track targets with very high levels of precision and to maintain a laser beam on the selected aim-point.
“This trial has assessed the performance of the laser itself – the outcome shows that the UK has world-leading capability in the technologies associated with laser directed energy weapons (LDEW) systems.”
The MoD says laser-directed energy weapons have the potential to provide lower cost lethality, reduced logistical burden and increased effectiveness when compared to other weapon systems and could revolutionise defence operations.

The technology has been developed in partnership with MBDA, Leonardo and QinetiQ.
Chris Allam, UK managing director and executive group director of engineering at MBDA, said: “These successful trials are the latest step in accelerating delivery of a UK sovereign laser directed energy weapon (LDEW) capability.
“MBDA, Leonardo, QinetiQ and Dstl all working together are putting the UK at the forefront of research and technology in laser domain.
“The results from these trials have verified analysis and given the team confidence that DragonFire will offer a near term and unique capability.”

Mark Hamilton, managing director electronics UK at Leonardo, said: “The DragonFire project draws on our decades of high energy laser and beam director heritage to put the UK at the very forward edge of what is possible in laser technology. The results of this live trial, which saw our beam director integrated into the DragonFire system, were impressive.”
QinetiQ chief executive, Steve Wadey, added: “We are delighted to have been involved in the trial, which has brought together the best of UK industry expertise in the complex weapons environment to work in close collaboration with Dstl.”
Dstl is now seeking innovations to better understand the next steps necessary to develop and introduce the weapons to the military.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *