Raytheon UK will receive the first laser weapon in the United Kingdom, and will integrate it onto a patrol vehicle next month.
Designed to stop aerial threats such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), this 15-kilowatt laser is the latest development in the UK Ministry of Defence's Land Demonstrator programme. Raytheon UK was contracted in 2021 to develop and install the laser system on a UK Wolfhound armored vehicle.
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 United States, the system successfully acquired, tracked, targeted and destroyed dozens of drone targets in short-range attack, swarm attack and long-range threat scenarios.
Raytheon's high-energy laser weapon system is compact, portable, can be installed on a variety of platforms, and it easily connects 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. The system offers a nearly infinite number of shots and precision accuracy with very low collateral damage, making it an affordable alternative to traditional munitions.
The delivery of the first system to the UK comes as Raytheon UK officially opens its new, advanced laser integration centre in Livingston, Scotland. The centre, first announced in July 2022, focuses on the testing, fielding and maintenance of Raytheon's defensive laser weapons and is a regional hub established to ensure that laser weapons can be quickly fielded, maintained and repaired.