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Dragonfire illuminates the way forward for UK laser weapons

9th November 2022 - 13:30 GMT | by Harry Lye in London

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The Dragonfire laser-directed energy weapon (LDEW) combines a high-powered emitter with advanced beam-pointing to physically damage targets. (Photo: Dstl/Crown Copyright)

With its Dragonfire high-energy laser programme the UK is part of a growing club of nations focused on taking directed energy weapons from science fiction to operations.

The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has hosted the UK’s first high-powered, long-range laser-directed energy weapon (LDEW) trial at Porton Down, putting the Dragonfire system through its paces against a range of targets.

Like the mythical creatures it shares its name with, the Dragonfire LDEW defeats its targets by essentially burning into them.

The trials at Porton Down demonstrated the ability of Dragonfire to deliver high levels of laser power with sufficient accuracy to engage several targets at differing ranges.

Speaking to Shephard, Dstl’s technical partner Ben Maddison said Dragonfire had successfully defeated threats such as UAVs

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Harry Lye

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Harry Lye


Harry Lye was Senior Naval Reporter at Shephard Media.

Harry joined the company in 2021, …

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