UK seeks Directed Energy Weapons demonstrators
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published a Prior Information Notice to begin work on the development of three Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) as part of its Novel Weapons Programme.
The MoD is seeking three new DEW demonstrators to explore the potential of laser and radio frequency weapon technology and accelerate its introduction onto the battlefield.
Powered solely by electricity, the systems may be fuelled by a vehicle’s engine or a generator, significantly reducing operating costs and providing advanced flexibility for the frontline.
Laser weapons systems deploy high energy light beams to target and destroy targets and missiles. Radio Frequency weapons are designed to disrupt and disable enemy computers and electronics.
The new systems are expected to be trialled in 2023 on Royal Navy ships and British Army vehicles in order to inform improved understanding of DEWs, test the systems to their limits and assess how they could be integrated with existing platforms.
The MoD aims to invest up to £130 million in this programme of work, including the construction of the demonstrators, the creation of a new Joint Programme Office and the recruitment of personnel to manage the programme.
The MoD plans to carry out initial testing of the Dragonfire laser weapons system demonstrator, commissioned by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, later this year.