UK Successfully Tests New Laser Weapon

DragonFire laser
DragonFire laser first high-power firing of a laser weapon against aerial targets. | Image by UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

The United Kingdom successfully tested its newest laser weapon against aerial targets.

UK officials announced on a government website earlier this month that it had achieved the very first “high-power firing” of its DragonFire laser-directed energy weapon (LDEW) system. Scientists tested the new weapon at the Hebrides Range off Scotland’s coast.

Military officials say the LDEW is capable of attacking targets at the speed of light with a laser powerful enough to cut through and potentially destroy a target. The laser can operate over long distances on targets within its line of sight, striking targets with “pinpoint accuracy,” according to a release.

A major advantage of the weapon is that it operates at a relatively low cost.

“Firing it for 10 seconds is the cost equivalent of using a regular heater for just an hour. Therefore, it can potentially be a long-term, low-cost alternative to certain tasks missiles currently carry out. The cost of operating the laser is typically less than [around $13] per shot,” reads the release.

“This type of cutting-edge weaponry has the potential to revolutionize the battlespace by reducing the reliance on expensive ammunition while also lowering the risk of collateral damage,” said UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapp, according to the release.

The LDEW demonstrated success in striking aerial targets, reportedly drones, according to Live Science.

Due to this success, the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) will continue to spend on the technology in order to make it ready for use on the battlefield.

“The DragonFire trials at the Hebrides demonstrated that our world-leading technology can track and engage high-end effects at range. In a world of evolving threats, we know that our focus must be on getting the capability to the warfighter, and we will look to accelerate this next phase of activity,” said Shimon Fhima, director of strategic programmes for MOD, per the release.

While UK scientists work to use lasers to revolutionize the battlefield, scientists in the United States are using laser technology to revolutionize communication in space. NASA recently announced that it is working with small businesses to create “scalable, affordable, and advanced” laser communication systems for use in space endeavors such as the Artemis program, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The use of drones has also been steadily growing worldwide, and even drug cartels are using them to deliver narcotics and evade Border Patrol agents in the United States.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article