Dragonfire Laser Directed Energy Weapons to begin testing

Dragonfire LDEF

In January of this year, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) awarded a contract to the Dragonfire consortium, worth £30million to UK industry, to demonstrate the potential of Laser Directed Energy Weapons (LDEW).

Dstl supplies high-impact science and technology for the defence and security of the UK. Scientists from Dstl and its industry partners have been working on laser technology since the 1970s, with the intent of realising the benefit of an affordable and precise weapon for the UK military.

Testing of the demonstrator will begin on UK ranges in 2018, culminating in a major demonstration in 2019.

The Dragonfire solution is based on unique technical approaches developed in the UK under MOD and industry funding centred on high energy lasers and will address the challenges associated with engaging aerial targets safely.

The LDEW technology provides operational advantage to the UK military and the potential to export such systems, as advocated in the UK’s 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, by developing on-shore industrial capability.

Peter Cooper, Dstl’s Project Technical Authority for Dragonfire, said: “Dragonfire is the culmination of many years of work in the area of laser directed energy weapons. We are looking forward to the 2019 demonstration and, working with our industry colleagues, we aim provide the UK Armed Forces with innovative, effective and affordable solutions to the emerging threats they face.”