A high-power lasered fired from a Ministry of Defence station in the Hebrides has made history.
The Dragonfire, a laser directed energy weapon (LDEW), achieved the first high-power firing of a laser weapon against aerial targets in the whole of the UK.
The trial was launched at the Hebrides Range to test out low-cost alternatives to missiles in engaging with visible targets like drones.
Developed by UK technology, the MoD said the laser has the precision to hit a £1 coin from a kilometre away.
Grant Shapp, Defence Secretary, said: “This type of cutting-edge weaponry has the potential to revolutionise the battlespace by reducing the reliance on expensive ammunition, while also lowering the risk of collateral damage.
“Investments with industry partners in advanced technologies like DragonFire are crucial in a highly contested world, helping us maintain the battle-winning edge and keep the nation safe.”
The Army and the Royal Navy are considering using the weaponry as part of future Air Defence missions, with the laser costing less than £10 per shot.
The MoD said firing the system for 10 seconds is the cost equivalent of using a regular heater for an hour.
DragonFire’s range is classified but the LDEW is described as a line-of-sight weapon and can strike a target within range.
Developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) along with industry partners, on behalf of the MoD, the system is the product of a £100m joint investment.
Dr Paul Hollinshead, Dstl’s chief executive said: “These trials have seen us take a huge step forward in realising the potential opportunities and understanding the threats posed by directed energy weapons.”
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