DragonFire laser, aptly named, is a high-powered laser weapon that’s a cheaper alternative to missiles used for air defense, tested by the UK ministry of Defense (MOD).
The UK’s latest laser weapon targets and can hit a small coin from over a kilometer away. The main goal is to destroy targets, specifically aerial targets, and to shoot down drones.
Directed-Energy Weapon (DEW)
The DragonFire is a way better alternative to traditional missiles, a reliable and cost-effective substitution. One of the benefits is that it reduces the damage of hitting unintended targets compared to traditional missiles. The laser beam is highly accurate when hitting its target and it’s impressively fast like the speed of light, it’s challenging to evade!
“The MoD says firing the DragonFire system for 10 seconds is the cost equivalent of using a regular heater for an hour, with the cost of operating it typically less than £10 per shot,” stated BBC.
Additionally, the DragonFire laser showcases potential applications beyond offensive purposes. It’s referred to as the ‘Dragonfire laser shield,’opening new possibilities for defensive strategies.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the technology could reduce “the reliance on expensive ammunition, while also lowering the risk of collateral damage”.
Under Exploration Phase
MOD is testing DragonFire against aerial targets, to determine whether the tests are successful or not. In order to be deployed in air defense strategies and used in operational practices a few years from now.
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Chief Executive, Dr. Paul Hollinshead said, “These trials have seen us take a huge step forward in realising the potential opportunities and understanding the threats posed by directed energy weapons.”
Both the British Army and Royal Navy are set to use this technology as part of the Army and Royal Navy for their future Air Defense capabilities.
Drawbacks of DragonFire
On the other hand, the DragonFire laser has some downsides. The laser beam can be affected by the weather, especially in winter with factors such as rain, snow, and fog hindering its effectiveness. It also demands a substantial amount of power to function.
“The DragonFire trials at the Hebrides demonstrated that our world-leading technology can track and engage high-end effects at range. In a world of evolving threats we know that our focus must be on getting capability to the warfighter and we will look to accelerate this next phase of activity,” said Shimon Fhima, Director Strategic Programmes for the MOD.
The DragonFire laser beam promises a new way of modifying the way wars are fought. It’s a game-changer, particularly for military purposes, in the light of the increased usage of laser weapons in the Ukrainian-Russian war, where Russia used Iranian-made drones, called “Kamikaze”.
It appears that the UK is dedicated to incorporating laser beam technology as a defense against contemporary threats.
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