DragonFire Laser Achieves UK's First High-Power Firing Against Aerial Targets

The system was tested against a representative aerial target at varying ranges, altitudes, and speeds
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 05:18 AM, January 20, 2024
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DragonFire Laser Achieves UK's First High-Power Firing Against Aerial Targets
DragonFire Laser Weapon

The DragonFire laser directed energy weapon (LDEW) system has achieved the first high-power firing of a laser weapon against aerial targets in the UK.

The successful trial took place at the MOD Hebrides Range, showcasing the advanced capabilities of this futuristic military laser.

Led by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the DragonFire collaboration includes industry partners MBDA, Leonardo, and QinetiQ. This latest achievement builds upon a series of successful trials, including the first static high-power laser firing of a sovereign UK capability and demonstrations of the system's ability to track moving air and sea targets with remarkable precision at long ranges.

The DragonFire weapon system, a result of a £100 million joint investment by industry and the UK Ministry of Defence, marks a significant step-change in the UK's capability in laser directed energy weapons.

DragonFire Laser Achieves UK's First High-Power Firing Against Aerial Targets
DragonFire Laser Weapon

Mark Hamilton, Managing Director Electronics UK at Leonardo, said the system was “tested against a representative aerial target at varying ranges, altitudes, and speeds, supporting the first UK High Energy Laser (HEL) firing against aerial targets across its operational field of regard."

The DragonFire laser system is designed to deliver high-power lasers over long ranges with precision equivalent to hitting a £1 coin from a kilometer away. Laser-directed energy weapons offer the advantage of engaging targets at the speed of light, potentially reducing the reliance on high-cost ammunition while maintaining pinpoint accuracy.

The successful trials have paved the way for the DragonFire laser system to be considered for future Air Defence capabilities by both the Army and Royal Navy. With a commitment to advancing this game-changing technology, the UK Ministry of Defence recently announced a multi-million-pound program to transition the DragonFire system from research to the battlefield.

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