In a partnership with industry supporting the UK Armed Forces, the DragonFire laser-directed energy weapon (LDEW) achieved the UK’s first high-power firing of a laser weapon against aerial targets. The trial was conducted at the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Hebrides Range.

The laser achieved pinpoint accuracy at classified ranges but is a line-of-sight weapon capable of engaging with any visible target.

DragonFire utilizes UK technology to deploy a high-power laser over extended distances, requiring precision equivalent to hitting a £1 coin from a kilometer away. Laser-directed energy weapons engage targets at the speed of light, using an intense light beam to cut through and induce structural failure or other impactful outcomes if targeting the warhead. Firing DragonFire for 10 seconds presents a potential long-term, low-cost alternative to specific missile tasks with a cost equivalent to using a regular heater for just an hour. The operational cost of the laser is typically less than £10 per shot.

DragonFire, spearheaded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on behalf of the UK MOD and in collaboration with industry partners MBDA, Leonardo, and QinetiQ, has achieved a significant milestone. The demonstration showcased the capability to engage aerial targets at pertinent ranges, marking a significant advancement toward deploying this technology in operational service. The Army and Royal Navy are actively exploring the incorporation of DragonFire into their future Air Defence capabilities.

Photo of the DragonFire Laser Directed Energy Weapon System
DragonFire LDEW (Image Credit: UK MOD)

 

DragonFire achieved a noteworthy milestone with successful trials, including the first static high-power laser firing of a sovereign UK capability and the demonstration of its ability to track moving air and sea targets at range accurately. The MOD has announced plans to fund a multi-million-pound program to transition DragonFire’s technology from research to battlefield application.

Sponsored by the MOD’s Defence Science and Technology organization and Strategic Programmes, the DragonFire weapon system represents a £100 million joint investment by the MOD and industry partners, contributing to advancements in LDEW capabilities. The successful trials reinforce the UK’s commitment to cutting-edge technologies and national defense capabilities. (Reference)

Post Image- DragonFire weapon system firing at night (Image Credit: Ministry of Defence and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory)