Has Britain Just Handed Terror Groups the Ultimate Laser Weapon?

The UK Defence Department has just showcased Dragonfire, a laser defence toy which can destroy incoming missiles and hostile aircraft. The released test footage seems extremely bland until you understand the implications of what it happening. But when you do understand, the test footage looks like a scene from the climax of Dune Part 2. Dragonfire is a destructive force that travels towards its target at 1.1 billion kilometres an hour. Meaning there’s not quite enough time for evasive action.

The official terminology for this type of defence apparatus is Laser DEW, meaning Laser Directed Energy Weapon. Obviously it’s the most expensive bit of military defence tech ever devised. Except it isn’t. It’s probably the cheapest in a century.

Want to bring down a Sukhoi SU 34 fighter jet that’s coming at you with ill-intent?  Fire off a Patriot missile, blow it out the sky and ring up a cost of $2 million. Alternatively, press the red button on the side of the Dragonfire, carve up the Sukhoi instantly with a laser beam and all it will set you back is $13.

Just to repeat. A beam of light which slices through thick steel and travels at, well, the speed of light, costs $13.

However, the same ultra-low cost technology can also be used to slice a fully loaded A380 in two whilst flying at 10,000 metres. It could sever the west wing from the rest of the White house (actually, I would cough up the $13 myself to see that happen).

Jokes aside, the world is in serious trouble if this tech falls into the wrong hands, on two counts.  

Firstly, it’s just a matter of time before this defence system becomes a first strike assault weapon. In my estimation, the wrong hands in this case means about 180 of 197 countries.

Secondly, terror groups (which are impossible to number because the U.S. have displayed their typical bias in collating a list). Lest you think this sounds a bit too Hollywood, I suggest you google ‘Dark web arms dealers’. $13 dollars vs. $2 million dollars could soon make Dragonfire technology a best-seller.

The world remains, unofficially, at Defcon 2 because of nuclear sabre rattling from developing countries. And the odd whisper from a terror group or two. Has Great Britain just added a new weapon to the arsenal of anxiety the world cannot seem to shake off?

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Insights sections to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.