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29 Jan 2024

UK tests first high-power laser firing at only £10-per-shot

UK tests first high-power laser firing at only £10-per-shot
MOD & Dstl

During a trial at the MOD’s Hebrides Range, the DragonFire laser directed energy weapon (LDEW) system achieved the UK’s first high-power firing of a laser weapon against aerial targets. The range of DragonFire is classified, but it is a line-of-sight weapon and can engage with any visible target.

  • First high-power firing of a laser weapon against aerial targets
  • Laser boasts pinpoint accuracy and low long-term costs
  • Partnership with industry making positive progress for UK Armed Forces

DragonFire exploits UK technology to be able to deliver a high power laser over long ranges. The precision required is equivalent to hitting a £1 coin from a kilometre away.

Laser-directed energy weapons can engage targets at the speed of light, and use an intense beam of light to cut through the target, leading to structural failure or more impactful results if the warhead is targeted.

Firing it for 10 seconds is the cost equivalent of using a regular heater for just an hour. Therefore, it has the potential to be a long-term low-cost alternative to certain tasks missiles currently carry out. The cost of operating the laser is typically less than £10 per shot.

 

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