The German Navy successfully fired a high-energy laser weapon aboard one of its air-defense frigates for the first time during a recent trial.
According to a Rheinmetall press release, a Sachsen-class frigate engaged drones at short and very short ranges in the Baltic Sea near Putlos Major Training Area.
The capabilities of the weapon’s electro-optical sensors and radars were also verified during the live-fire test.
Rheinmetall and the German Navy assessed the interplay between all weapon components, from target acquisition to engagement.
Testing of the high-energy laser weapon will continue until mid-2023, with new scenarios carried out to challenge the system’s capabilities.
All data collected from the trials will allow the developers to determine what still needs to be done to make the weapon fully operational.
The Laser Weapon
The German Navy’s future high-energy laser weapon is being developed jointly by local firms Rheinmetall and MBDA Deutschland.
It is designed to engage targets at the speed of light, operating with great precision and reducing collateral damage.
The weapon will be capable of defending against enemy drones and drone swarms.
It will also be able to neutralize speed boats, guided missiles, and mortar rounds at close range.
“The principal components of the demonstrator are truly high tech. This is the result of long years of research,” project manager Thomas Baumgärtel said.
“The impressive performance of the [laser] effectors in protecting surface combatants from short- and very-short range threats can be credited to the joint efforts of everyone involved in the project.”