UK to assess laser weapon potential
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to embark on a high energy laser demonstration programme, with a £30 million contract being finalised with an industrial team, UK Dragonfire, led by MBDA. MBDA made the announcement on 16 September in a company statement.
The contract will see the team carry out the Laser Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) Capability Demonstrator programme. The programme will mature the key technologies for a high energy defensive laser weapon system and will culminate in the engagement of representative targets in land and maritime environments in a 2019 demonstration. It will also provide the body of evidence for future procurement decisions.
Led by MBDA, the UK Dragonfire consortium includes QinetiQ and Leonardo-Finmeccanica, with support from GKN, Arke, BAE Systems and Marshall ADG.
The UK Dragonfire proposal builds on MoD and industry investment in the areas of laser coherent beam combining, weapon systems command and control, advanced pointing systems and high power storage.
Dave Armstrong executive group director technical and UK managing director, MBDA, said: ‘Under MBDA’s lead, UK Dragonfire will put the UK at the forefront of high energy laser systems, capitalising on the experience of joint MoD/industry working in the complex weapons environment. Furthermore it advances the UK towards a future product with significant export potential, as well as providing opportunities for partnerships with other nations’ armed forces that have similar requirements.’
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