The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has completed the first trials of a high-powered, long-range Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) testbed at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl’s) Porton Down range in Southern England.

Conducted in October, the trials involved firing the DragonFire LDEW capability demonstrator at several target sets. Led by MBDA UK, the UK Dragonfire consortium includes Leonardo and QinetiQ as key technology suppliers.

The sovereign LDEW capability demonstrator programme has been established to improve the MoD’s understanding of how high-energy lasers and their associated technologies can defeat representative air and surface targets at operationally relevant ranges, and in different operating environments. According to Dstl, the need to generate high levels of laser power and the ability to focus the beam with sufficient accuracy, are two important areas that need to be demonstrated to provide confidence in the performance and viability of LDEW systems. Other considerations include management of power and cooling demands over a prolonged period, and effects management/safety aspects.

  • Janes / News Agencies

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