Nov 9, 2022

DragonFire | Next Generation Laser | Dstl

Posted by in categories: energy, futurism

The UK @Ministry of Defence #Defence Science and #Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has hosted the UK’s first high-powered, long-range #Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) trial on its ranges at Porton Down.

The trials involve firing the UK #DragonFire demonstrator at a number of targets over a number of ranges, demanding pinpoint accuracy from the beam director.

The trial improves the UK’s understanding of how high-energy lasers and their associated technologies can operate over distance and defeat representative targets. The ability to deliver high levels of laser power with sufficient accuracy are two of the major areas that need to be demonstrated in order to provide confidence in the performance and viability of LDEW systems.

The programme has developed a UK Sovereign ‘Centre of Excellence’ staffed with experts from multiple fields. LDEW have the potential to provide lower cost lethality, reduced logistical burden and increased effectiveness when compared to other weapon systems – the technology could have a huge effect on the future of Defence operations.

The programme’s specialist industry partners are:

@MBDA with overall responsibility for the system and have developed the advanced command and control (C2) and image processing capabilities;
@Leonardo who have developed the Beam Director which can track and point at targets with pin-point accuracy;
@QinetiQ laser experts who have built a phase-combined laser capable of generating in the order of 50kW of power; with the ability in the future to scale fire-power levels.

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