German Military Laser
Wed, 09 Jan 2013
Germans unveil 'star wars' laser than can shoot a drone out of the sky from TWO MILES away and cut through a steel girder at 700 yards.
- High powered laser is powerful enough to cut through a steel girder from 1km away
- System is so accurate it could track and destroy an 82mm ball bearing designed to replicate a mortar round
- German firm hopes to create a portable version that could be used on the battlefield
The 'eyes' of the laser weapon, which can track an object the size of a bullet, and hit a drone from two miles away.
One of the most powerful laser weapons ever fired has successfully shot drones out of the sky from two miles away. The groundbreaking weapon uses a high powered 50kW laser, and is powerful enough to cut through a steel girder from 1km away, yet accurate enough to hit a target the size of a mortar round.
Rheinmetall Defence, the firm who developed it, say it could eventually become commonplace on the battlefield, and are developing a smaller version that could be taken to the front line to protect troops.
The latest test was conducted at Rheinmetall’s Ochsenboden Proving Groud (EZO) in Switzerland, in snowy conditions and blinding sunlight, and engineers are already drawing up plans to double the power of the laser before its next test.
'The demonstration delivered compelling evidence for the 50kW weapon technology,' a spokesman said. 'A massive, 15mm-thick steel girder was cut through at a distance of 1,000 meters, and the successful shooting down of several nose-diving target drones at a range of two kilometers formed the second major highlight.'
The team was also able to use the system to track and blow up a ball bearing the size of a mortar round. 'A steel ball measuring 82 mm in diameter and travelling at approximately 50 m/sec, the target replicated a mortar round, the firm said.
The Skyguard fire control unit immediately detected the target, followed by mechanical tracking with the 30kW laser weapon station.
'At this point, the BFU of the laser weapon module took over, optically tracking the target, which was then engaged and destroyed in flight, leaving no doubt as to the tactical viability of using laser weapons.'
The system is currently mounted of a series of large metal containers. However, the firm is developing a smaller, portable version that could easily be transported to the battlefront.
HOW IT WORKS
The system uses a radar detection system called Skyguard to spot targets and track them. Once the target is acquired, the two laser weapons use their 'beam forming units' to focus and fire the laser beam on a 'fire sector' the system works out. In the most impressive test, the German defense firm used the high-energy laser equipment to shoot fast-moving drones at a distance. The system, which uses two laser weapons combined to form a single beam, was also used to cut through a steel girder a kilometer away. It used a radar to detect the drones. 'Though they were flying at over 50 meters a second, the Skyguard radar had no trouble detecting the incoming unmanned aerial vehicles at a distance of three kilometers.'Then the 30kW weapon station used the Skyguard data to carry out rough tracking mechanically.'
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The optical tracking system in the Beam Forming Units (BFUs) in the individual laser weapon modules performed fine tracking of the UAVs. After reaching the programmed fire sector the laser weapon modules engaged the UAVs immediately and destroyed the incoming UAVs within a few seconds. The third highlight: detection, pursuit and successful engagement of an extremely small ballistic target. One of the two laser systems used in the test, which are powerful enough to cut a steel girder from 1,000m away.