UK Tests DragonFire As US/Britain Improve High-Intensity Laser Beam Capabilities
The laser weapon only costs only less than £10 to fire per shot ($12.70) and can intercept and take down missiles and drones at a small fraction of the price of interceptor missiles.
UNITED KINGDOM - After almost a decade of development and an investment of about £100 million ($127,039,900), the British Ministry of Defense has announced it successfully tested a high-intensity laser beam dubbed “DragonFire” which it says costs only less than £10 to fire per shot ($12.70) and can intercept and take down missiles and drones at a small fraction of the price interceptor missiles cost, which can run up to $100,000 each.
According to the British Ministry of Defense, the project was a joint effort between British Defense and industries in the United Kingdom working with the government.
“Developed by UK industries working with the Government’s defense laboratories, Dstl, DragonFire is a ‘laser-directed energy weapon’. It can engage any visible target (the range is classified) in theory, even one traveling at light speed,” a statement by the British Defense Ministry said.
“Developers say even a concentrated burst of ten seconds of high energy costs no more than using an electric heater intensively for an hour… or about £10 per ‘shot’,” the statement reads.
It went on to say, “To be effective, it must concentrate its high-power beam typically for around ten seconds – on the same spot (the tracking system requires precision equivalent to hitting a pound coin from a kilometer away apparently) causing the target to break up or, if the laser focuses on, say, a missile warhead, to cause it to detonate.”
The British MOD added that although it can’t be fitted to existing Royal Navy vessels, it will be able to be installed on ships currently under construction, such as the Type 26 and Type 31 frigates.
It added that the British military is looking to equip it to some of its armor so that it can be used to take out enemy aerial threats, which could include drones, enemy aircraft, or even small fast attack boats, according to a statement by the U.S. Navy testing a similar system in 2014.
US Navy: Laser-Based Weaponry Will Give Militaries Affordable Alternative To Traditional Ordinance Without Rearming
Laser-based weapons are not only affordable to fire compared to the traditional ordinance, but they never have to be reloaded or rearmed which is equivalent to having an endless magazine as long as enough power can be generated to run the system according to statements by the U.S. Navy in 2014 as it announced plans to deploy its own laser-weapons system (LaWS) to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility.