Raytheon UK has announced that it will soon receive the country’s first 15-kilowatt laser weapon to be tested and integrated onto Wolfhound armored vehicles.
The integration, scheduled to begin next month, is described by the company as a “significant advancement” in understanding how the system can be deployed on the battlefield.
According to Raytheon UK managing director Julie Finlayson-Odell, testing the high-energy laser will also help the country assess how it can safely and effectively operate the weapon alongside other elements of the British military.
“The arrival of this transformative technology is an important milestone in our collaboration with the MoD (Ministry of Defence) on using directed energy to address a variety of threats, from drones … to more complex missile systems,” she said.
The laser has already undertaken multiple field tests under various weather conditions, including extreme heat, cold, rain, sleet, and snow.
The UK’s first 15-kilowatt laser weapon is designed to neutralize unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), low-flying helicopters, and other aerial threats.
It was part of the UK MoD’s Land Demonstrator program to bolster the country’s air defense capabilities by increasing the lethality of armored vehicles and other ground platforms.
Before the delivery to Raytheon UK took place, the weapon underwent four days of live-fire exercises where it successfully identified, tracked, and destroyed dozens of drone targets.
The company also opened a new laser integration center in Livingston, Scotland, to focus on testing, fielding, and maintenance of its defensive laser weapons.
Inspired by the US
The UK’s move to develop and field a high-powered laser weapon is built on the success of its ally the US in producing anti-drone lasers.
According to Raytheon, Washington already has a total of eight high-energy lasers, which have “defeated more than 400 targets over 25,000 operational hours.”
Inspired by American development, the company has reportedly produced and integrated advanced sensors, as well as kinetic and non-kinetic effectors, to defeat threats more efficiently