The Ministry of Defence has issued a Prior Information Notice to industry, signalling an intent to “accelerate and exploit at pace DEW as an emerging technology.”

The notice serves as an advisory for a potential upcoming contract to tender for the MOD’s Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) programme.

According to the official DEW Industry Briefing Note 1, the programme aims to “deliver a range of benefits for the UK connected to DEW by leading and commissioning the required work.”

It specifically focuses on the Transition Phase of the programme, highlighting three main DEW projects:

  • “Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) in a Maritime Air Defence application”
  • “LDEW in Ground Based Air Defence applications”
  • “RFDEW in Counter-Unmanned Air System (C-UAS) applications in the Land Domain”

The DEW programme will “build on the parallel DEW Capability Demonstrator Portfolio delivered by UK industry through Team Hersa,” with a six-month User Experimentation Phase scheduled to begin in 2024.

For the transition phase, the MOD is considering establishing a “new DEW Capability Development Framework Arrangement,” aimed at delivering “individual Transition Phase Work Packages for each of the DEW projects.”

This framework will have an “estimated total value of approximately £150 million over a three-year period from FY 24/25,” and aims to provide a “flexible and agile route to market for DEW Transition Phase requirements.”

The Prior Information Notice also states that the MOD is in the “early stages of developing a Procurement Strategy,” and is inviting industry to share their views via a Request for Information (RFI) Questionnaire. Responses to the RFI will be used to “inform the DEW Procurement and Commercial strategy” and are not part of any competitive procedure.

An Industry Day or series of Industry Days are being considered “for late 2023 and/or early 2024” to provide further details on the DEW programme.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_750090)
9 months ago

All good news. Quite a other countries are doing the same. No mention here of an air to air application? Can any of the thrust energy from a jets engine be harnessed to power an airborne DEW?

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_750111)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I think fighter sized and powerful laser weaponry is still a tad Buck Rogers, and I would say it’s going to be 2040 plus, before Tempest is flying around with phaser cannons and quantum torpedoes! It’s going to be in the ‘built for, but not fitted with’ category, along with optionally manned, cloaking technology and energy shields …… When you think about it, it can’t just be like a ship mounted system thats trained on a target for 30 seconds or so, a fighter sized system will need to be able to damage or destroy it’s target within a couple… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by John Clark
lonpfrb
lonpfrb (@guest_750160)
9 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

F-35 is already far along with engine upgrades because putting more electronics on board requires more power. T-45 power improvement program to ensure that there is enough reliable power for operating as standard. So power is a big issue even before DEW comes along with the need for KW more power. DoD decided for the upgrade in place for F-35 rather than replacing with a new design so that suggests the DEW route is not planned for air to air. Obviously extended life for B-2 to carry DEW, like B-52, would be interesting if B-21 with cover the stealth bomber… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_750230)
9 months ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

Super capacitors and solid matter battery tech should improve the situation allowing warships to pre charge energy stores to allow deployment with DEWs.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_750181)
9 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

FFBNW “phaser cannons and quantum torpedoes”.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_750184)
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Sorry, you did mention that.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_750203)
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

The quantum torpedoes will be fitted to surplus Jaguar over wing pylons, I hear and phaser array will be focused through a surplus jam jar….

Helps keep the spending down….

Craig
Craig (@guest_750514)
9 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

If it’s Buck Rogers it’ll be 2491

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu (@guest_750126)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Australia has committed $3.4 billion to the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator (ASCA) with directed energy (DE) systems a priority area.

Coincidentally this week Australian weapons company EOS (manufacturer of the Redback IFV turret and other remote weapons systems) has been testing a 34kw laser DE weapon against drone swarms and other airborne targets at a firing range in the New South Wales outback.

DE weapons are a category for cooperative development under Pillar 2 of the AUKUS agreement.

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_750207)
9 months ago
Reply to  Oscar Zulu

Is there a significant brain drain of tech staff from UK to Aus? They seem to be making exponential strides in areas we were a couple of years ago.

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu (@guest_750248)
9 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

Can’t say but we do have a history of inventing some things through our own efforts (WiFi for instance by the CSIRO aircraft flight recorder ‘black boxes” etc.) and have had our own research base albeit smaller, Often we lack the venture capital (although Australia’s per capita CDP is higher than the UK)to commercialize discoveries and they head overseas But hey who wouldn’t want to live here? There do seem to be an increasing number of UK accents in the ADF though and Australian citizenship or residency is open to the UK. Australia, like the US, is an immigrant country.… Read more »

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750682)
9 months ago
Reply to  Oscar Zulu

Waste of money and time. Dump it. If it can be made to work we’ll buy it.

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu (@guest_750849)
9 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Glad to hear you are open minded.

The test of EOS ‘Slinger’ system took out multiple drones at ranges of 1000 meters hitting moving targets from a moving vehicle.

The EOS system is built in Australia using an Australian supply chain. So how many can we put you down for?

Might have to join the queue though. There were potential buyers from Europe, North America, South East Asia and the Middle East at the test.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750421)
9 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

Australia has a clearer vision of what they want to achieve,and how they’ll do it. They are showing the ability to be able to think outside of the box and be innovative in the way that we USED TO BE.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_750251)
9 months ago
Reply to  Oscar Zulu

Although DEW was not specifically listed as one of the original areas of cooperative R&D for AUKUS Pillar 2, fully agree that it is intuitively obvious that it should be included. Now, if the military-industrial complex will simply cooperate…🤔🤞

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_750293)
9 months ago
Reply to  Oscar Zulu

Morning Oscar, yes, I did see some of that mentioned other day. Lots of DEW going everywhere by the look of it and cooperation behind the scenes. Good that Aus is building up its technical and production capabilities for more advanced technology and weaponry.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_750134)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The latest RR developmental military engine work has as one of its major goals turbine generated electrical power for all manner of uses, don’t know if that covers your question, but there was information (if few details) on the RR website about the most recent testing results I believe. But I’m with John Clark on this matter, presently this sort of laser airborne tech is more about proof of concept than actual near term introduction into service. Think we are a very long way from it being useful as a weapon other than dazzling or damaging sensors against incoming missile… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N (@guest_750335)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The new UK/Japan 6 generation fighter will have power generation designed to provide power for a DEW. Rolls Royce have got a jet that includes electrical power generation nuilt in.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750423)
9 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

And a VSTOL version to prevent our carriers becoming obsolete early.

Ian
Ian (@guest_750376)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Even with the best current tech, you need to dissipate more waste heat than you actually generate in laser energy, so the challenge is how to do that on something as necessarily light as an airframe.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750410)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Millions of taxpayers money has already been thrown into the subject it looks like Dragonfire is a failure and now we’re going to do it again but just with a different company.all these millions could have been used on another T31DEW is a great project.. but lik the other fashionable dad’s of the moment such as unmanned this and motherships talk, it has to be properly overseen and managed. Tell me, what does a river down in the Falklands do that echo couldn’t? We’ve got two perfectly good ships sitting in Portsmouth that could, w some imagination, be fitted to… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth (@guest_750810)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

You could use chemical lasers for airborne applications. As the name suggests, such lasers obtain their energy from a chemical reaction rather than drawing power from some other source like a turbofan. They are quite powerful too, but you would probably have to make do with a limited number of shots.

Last edited 9 months ago by Gareth
Paul
Paul (@guest_750966)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The airborne LDEW version on say a F35 will require a significant and persistent power source probably taken from the shaft connecting the engine to the forward lift fan. This will impact on the gas turbine and the the lift fan designs with two manufacturers. The avionics package will need to be integrated with the LDEW detection and fire control system. The airframe will need to be modified to accommodate the LDEW weapon. The C4 system will need to be extended to provide cockpit command and control. This all means significant technical intrusion and a new military aircraft release, new… Read more »

Bulkhead
Bulkhead (@guest_750095)
9 months ago

This is just PR crap, the govenment will never spend the dosh required to fund this. And that includes any future govenment..😎

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_750144)
9 months ago
Reply to  Bulkhead

Don’t agree (not that I am convinced the Govt will spend sufficient dosh mind), even 20 years back the idea of a space and rocket programme seemed to be exclusive to a few very committed and cash rich Govt entities. Look at how things have changed in that time, it’s become so relatively cheap and the market so large, that not only sponsored private companies from those Countries are participating but companies from Germany, UK and even New Zealand are taking bites out of the apple and many with only marginal help from Govts. Very likely technology will develop in… Read more »

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750427)
9 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

We’ve thrown enough in this fad and now we’re doing it again just with another company. It’s pants I tell you. Pants.

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu (@guest_750439)
9 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Australia is also playing in this space (pardon the pun) with Queensland based Gilmour Space’s three stage Eris rocket and it’s proven proprietary hybrid rocket technology ready for defence and commercial customers to put 300kg payloads into LEO in early 2024. This initial capability designated Block 1 is scalable to larger rockets and payloads providing Australia with the potential to rapidly develop an indigenous intermediate range ballistic missile system (missile treaties notwithstanding). The University of Queensland’s Hyshot and Hifire programs have been developing and testing hypersonic technology since the early 2000s. Advanced rocketry and missile systems are no longer the… Read more »

Steve
Steve (@guest_750287)
9 months ago
Reply to  Bulkhead

I did notice the lack of any financial figures behind the article. This isn’t a case of we are investing x bilions to get the tech faster, its a stage before that of tendering to see what is out there with no commitment to spending. Only time will tell if the money is made available.

Jon
Jon (@guest_750377)
9 months ago
Reply to  Bulkhead

The £150m funding for the next three years has been “secured” and announced in this very article. So what’s the “this” you think the government won’t fund? Are you talking about eventual operational capabilities on combat vehicles, ships and planes?

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_750096)
9 months ago

Did we drop the ball for some reason ? The Navy has had a Laser system for 41 yrs okay they were ” Dazzlers” but I would have thought that those would have been built upon too the now Direct energy weapon level, just wondering

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_750101)
9 months ago
Reply to  Tommo

Hi Tommo, I believe they were banned under international law, I caution that I am looking back about 25 years now… I saw one under cover when I was visiting a RN T22 fitted with these and mentioned it to the officer I was with. They calmed down when I said I sat in the same small building as the guys who did the research and early development of the technology… The silly thing about banning these dazzle weapons is that they were replaced with miniguns and .50cal machine guns in RN service. I know, didn’t make any sense to… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_750113)
9 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

You cannot design and make a weapon to specifically injure but not kill and remain compliant with the Geneva Convention.
Chevage wasn’t eye safe so you would have gotten retina damage and probable blindness…a wound.
Being dazzled by Chevage whilst flying an aircraft …it isn’t the blindness that will kill you …the not being able to see to land the plane and the severe deceleration trauma during the subsequent crash at the end doesn’t count!

50 Cal and miniguns are designed to kill not wound from the outset so they are OK

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_750231)
9 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

So… to summarise we need a DEW that kills. Then it’s ok? So let’s get Klingon disruptor tech or the Darliks death ray.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_750320)
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

👍👍

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750413)
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Can we build it under licence from the Martians?😅😅

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_750118)
9 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

One or more of those Laser Dazzle Sights went south during Corporate. It was in the mid 80s when I first read of them and I was fascinated at the time by the secrecy surrounding them.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd (@guest_750146)
9 months ago

This is exactly why the MoD pours £billions into the bottomless pit. There is no chance whatsoever that DEW will turn into an effective weapon system and the money will be completely wasted. Some years ago we wasted a lot of money developing rail guns before the project was shelved because they didnt work I would much rather see our precious taxpayers money spent on more hardware and ammunition stocks for the three services. Some usless bod in DE&S is taking the piss out of Schraps, to con another couple of years seniority in the DEW dept before leaving for… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_750151)
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Luckily still small change at the mo!

Redshift
Redshift (@guest_750277)
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

You would have loved Ned Ludd

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750681)
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Agreed all these’soundites and,’click bait words of the day. We keep hearing drones this, drones that, motherships,it’s all nonsense, a ruse to make us think something is really on. It isn’t. This money should be plowed into what we need and can get today.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_750183)
9 months ago

They, in todays terms, were nothing special!

Glorified laser pointers with Oomph and more than one beam

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750425)
9 months ago

Explains why, whenever I went out onto the upper deck I could never see anything, they must have been put on the wrong way round

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_750185)
9 months ago

We had one fitted out for Corporate on the Bristol quickly dismantled prior to getting back to Pompey in its place we got 2×30 mm twin and 2 x20mm Gamb01s

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_750150)
9 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

That’s interesting, so were these lasers specifically aimed at damaging humans then, rather than the actual platforms being operated, or were they ostensibly for damaging platform sensors, but the danger to humans deemed as an unescapable side effect of doing that? It would I presume have serious implications as to how lasers would/could be used as they are developed now and into the future. Difficult to separate the capabilities I presume if these weapons are designed to disable weapon sensors rather than physically destroy its target outright, the former capability being the more likely early aim of these systems as… Read more »

Watcherzero
Watcherzero (@guest_750179)
9 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

They were designed to dazzle and overwhelm optical targeting sensors like IR and to burn out camera’s in TV guided weapons. They were designed to target enemy equipment which was allowed even with the chance of incidental damage. Designing dazzlers that specifically target pilots or other human elements and cause lasting visual damage is illegal.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_750189)
9 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

In those times it was more pilot degradation.

But, as you say, various sensors, of the time, could be messed up by lasers.

Drub
Drub (@guest_750153)
9 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

The Type 42 Destroyers had the dazzle box fitted after the Falklands War, as low-flying attack sorties needed a pilot with one set of two working eyes. But as far as I remember the Spanish complained or something, and they were installed.

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_750178)
9 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Thanks CR after Corporate the Backroom boys quickly dismantled the laser on our boat and in place of that we were kitted out with 2 x twin 30mm and 2x20mm Gam b 01s as you stated International law on lasers as weapons (Dazzlers) was something too do with laser frequency resulting in pilot blindness regardless of pilots Visor protection Bet the Chinese signed up for Law Sarcasm 😉

Pete
Pete (@guest_750286)
9 months ago
Reply to  Tommo

Seem to recall the story of the Argy pilot who was dazzled / blinded during FW but was radar then visually guided home and landed

Ian
Ian (@guest_750381)
9 months ago
Reply to  Tommo

I think these high-energy DEWs use fibre lasers, which only managed to achieve decent power levels in the 1990s. ‘Dazzlers’ aren’t banned as long as they don’t cause permanent blindness. The RN used an infrared chemical laser in the Falklands, which is a significantly different technology.

Tommo
Tommo (@guest_750447)
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian

During Corporate Ian ,our Ship was kitted out with an Argon Laser (Dazzler) pretty Green beam , boy did it draw the AMPS and Watts for a 3foot long Tube .The Backroom boys had too install 2 massive Amplifiers and run cables from 4 deck up to the signal deck all we did was play the Star Wars Theme when testing it

Marcus FARRINGTON
Marcus FARRINGTON (@guest_750130)
9 months ago

£150 million to confirm you can only mount a useful DEW weapon in a building or a frigate sized ship with top end electrical capacity in both cases.Money better spent on more Chinooks or half a type 32.Another liad of procurement nonsense!!

Jon
Jon (@guest_750400)
9 months ago

There are already vehicle-based lasers capable of taking out a drone. Given the military lasers we are talking about produce maybe 50 kW right now, and fighter jet engines produce tens of MWs of power, I don’t see why you think DEWs require “top-end electrical capacity” only available to a building or a frigate. A Merlin is capable of producing 5 MW. A lithium ion battery the weight of an AMRAAM could power a 300kW laser (@35% efficiency) for 2 mins continuous, so powering even the next gen of lasers on fighters isn’t impossible. I imagine airflow and heat control… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Jon
Marcus FARRINGTON
Marcus FARRINGTON (@guest_750131)
9 months ago

£150 million to confirm you can only mount DEW kit in a building or frigate sized ship with high end electrical capacity.Money better spent on more Chinooks or half a Type 31.Yet more fantasy procurement nonsense…

Ian
Ian (@guest_750384)
9 months ago

The reason for developing laser weapons both here and in the US is that a shot from a laser to take down an incoming missile costs a few pence, whereas one Aster missile costs > £ 1 million. Since we are clearly going to see saturation attacks as an increasingly common strategy in future, simply spending on the status quo isn’t going to be sustainable.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_750163)
9 months ago

HMG should be worrying about getting the weapons what needs to be fitted to our ship now put right frist.Just been reading article on defence for our ship’s it wasn’t has bright as some make out in government circles😕 OT a little rumours about HMS Albion is possibly to be sold to Brazil 🇧🇷 🙄

Bulkhead
Bulkhead (@guest_750173)
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Talking about weapon fits, I see the P.O.W. sailed with only 1 CIWS fitted, stbd fwd.😎

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_750186)
9 months ago
Reply to  Bulkhead

All positive news 😉 🇬🇧

Steve M
Steve M (@guest_750191)
9 months ago
Reply to  Bulkhead

That because ‘klingons on the stbd bow Captain’ single threat access

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_750193)
9 months ago
Reply to  Bulkhead

For goodness sake, why even bother with the one… if true…what a joke..

Last edited 9 months ago by Quentin D63
Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_750195)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Or, maybe pick up some new ones when over in the US… duty free…

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_750226)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

🙏

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_750247)
9 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

It isn’t going to need to need fire anything at anyone during trials off the US. POW is at 1 months notice to deploy. QE is at 72hrs notice to deploy. When QE goes into refit In late 2024, POW will become the on call carrier at 72hrs notice to move. And all 3 CIWS will be fitted.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_750292)
9 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Morning Robert, I believe you. I was just being a bit sarcastic. Though IMHO it would be nice to see a bit of improvement on the defensive armament of these carriers. They’re absolutely beaut ships. I still can’t spot any decoy launchers (SEA has some brilliant looking trainable launchers which look like they could also take StarStreak/ Martlet) for anti air or torpedo. I know they won’t be operating in isolation but a bit of extra kinetic protection around its perimeters would be prudent. Happy to hear from your side on this.

Last edited 9 months ago by Quentin D63
Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750416)
9 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

3 CIWS? you seem to be okay with that. I’d expect that some commonsense will have prevailed before then and that something more substantial will be in place by then.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_750470)
9 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

I am ok with that.I slept very soundly on the Invincible class with 3 CIWS. The big investment is going to our escorts. The T45 weapons upgrade for example. Because when it comes to fleet defence, the are the best tools for the job. Let the carrier be an aircraft carrier, and use its own primary weapon systems. Aircraft. The escorts are extremely effective at fleet defence, or the layered defence system as they call it. We took Sea Dart off the Invincible class to make more room for aircraft. They aren’t big destroyers with a flight deck. They are… Read more »

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750685)
9 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

What happened to the roll on roll offs we took up years ago? I believe that they have been used to transport stuff over to Estonia, could they carry out the Albion role with assault hovercraft?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_750709)
9 months ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

I don’t know Andy is the honest answer.

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_750211)
9 months ago
Reply to  Bulkhead

I thought I saw one port aft or are they moving it around for the cameras? Photo-shopping it?

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750426)
9 months ago
Reply to  Bulkhead

Rediculous.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750683)
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

More clickbait for us to get depressed at

Bob
Bob (@guest_750167)
9 months ago

“deliver a range of benefits for the UK connected to DEW by leading and commissioning the required work.”

wtf?



Jon
Jon (@guest_750343)
9 months ago
Reply to  Bob

The briefing note lists the hoped for benefits following the next three financial years (24/25 to 26/27): “to develop understanding, generate evidence and increase confidence in DEW as future capability choices addressing current and future threats.” I note that they don’t include the capability to shoot something. However, the previous parallel project does include three technology demonstrators which are unashamedly weapons “integrated or installed onto military platforms for six (6) months of User Experimentation Phases beginning in 2024.” So this framework seems to be three years of experimentation, using lessons from the demonstrator weapons to figure out how best to… Read more »

Jon
Jon (@guest_750176)
9 months ago

We had three DEW programmes launched a couple of years ago under Hersa with £72.5m funding for Thales and Raytheon, all supposed to give us demonstrator weapons. They announced that: “These innovative capabilities will be integrated onto existing platforms for the Royal Navy and British Army and will undergo user experimentation from 2023 to 2025.” They didn’t mention that wasn’t included in the original cost, which now seems to be the case. So what is this Transition Phase? Taking them from what to what? What comes next and how much will that cost? Could someone please translate “flexible and agile… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Jon
Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750418)
9 months ago
Reply to  Jon

Transition phase? It’s just this weeks sound bite to hide the fact that the whole saga is a gigantic flight of fancy we threw all the money away on.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_750180)
9 months ago

Science fition has brainwashed us that lasers are super futuristic weapons, but smoke or mist/fog defeats them, as far as my limited understanding goes. We do seem to have been waiting an eternity for effective laser weapons to come into service.

Hermes
Hermes (@guest_750250)
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Lasers are not intended to be the main weapon. They are only a defensive weapon in most use case. What’s more, their effectiveness depends mainly on the power of the laser. We’re still in the early days of energy weapons, so it’s too early to say whether they’ll really become something or whether they’ll really be useless. However, the military needs to try out such systems regularly to test the latest technological advances.  If you stop, you die. Some visionaries also thought that airplanes could never become a “real weapon”, we know the result today (and even only 20 years… Read more »

Ian
Ian (@guest_750385)
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Depends on the laser. Femtosecond pulse lasers behave more like bullets than light beams.

Simon
Simon (@guest_750523)
9 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Would you get the power required from a Femtosecond laser ?

Moonstone
Moonstone (@guest_750187)
9 months ago

Provided you can get this technology to work reliability – in all weather conditions – then it’s potential seems obvious enough to me. With the Russo-Ukraine war showing us daily that small, cheap and highly expendable drones are threatening to make land warfare (as we know it) almost impossibly costly then DEW technology could offer one affordable solution to the problem. At sea too a new generation of hypersonic weapons are presenting warships with a threat that could be extremely problematic for existing gun or missile based counter measures to deal will effectively – so here too a weapon than… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M (@guest_750190)
9 months ago

So just how long does it take these DE weapons to take out an imcoming missile? for 600Kts sea-skimmer you have less than 90 sec from horizon breach til impact, for the old big Soviet KH supersonic 6 ton monsters would they even notice it! Just wonder could this cause enough damage to destroy it? what if there are 3 or 4 missiles 🙁 do they kill one then BOHICA?

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_750213)
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve M

We are going to need half a dozen them in cassions along the side.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_750235)
9 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

Similar to space battleship Yamato then. See those sci fi guys know exactly where the future is.

Patrick C
Patrick C (@guest_750241)
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve M

‘all’ you really need to do is fry the sensors at the front of a missile and it’ll be flying blind. the US navy have already deployed lasers, its been operational since 2014 (AN/SEQ-3). likewise the US army have brought into service this year a laser mounted on a Stryker- the Stryker-DEW. this is to be used against drones/mortars. lasers seem to be the only realistic way going forward to defend against small drone swarms.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves (@guest_750420)
9 months ago
Reply to  Patrick C

Lasers? Shmazers? It’s all Pants. And expsive ones at that

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_750243)
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve M

It all depends on the spot intensity, which is the amount of energy contained within the laser’s spot diameter. If you look at what power an industrial laser is required to cut through 5mm of aluminium alloy, which is about 1kW and takes around 1.5 seconds, if it also uses gas assistance. But at a distance of less than 100mm. So if we consider the Soviet KH35 anti-ship missile travelling at Mach 0.8 (980kmh or 16.33km/s) and is detected by the ship’s radar traveling 5m above sea level as it pops over the horizon, this is a distance of about… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_750274)
9 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Mach 0.8 (980kmh or 16.33km/s)

Mach 0.8 is 272m/s

If it is 24 km distance then a straight flight to the ship is 88 seconds at Mach 0.8.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_750340)
9 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

Aargh! Cheers Alex for pointing out my crap maths. Its not 16.33km/s, it should have been 16.33km/min and thus 272m/s as you correctly pointed out. Therefore the missile would cover the 24km (24,000m) in just over 88 seconds.

For the missile to travel 24km in 1.5s would mean that the missile is travelling at Mach 165 or 57600km/h. Which is some feat!

I’m such a muppet! Should have checked what I had written before sending. Thanks for the sanity check.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_750589)
9 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

My commiserations DaveyB i already have been there 🙂

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_750321)
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve M

Fast targets help to destroy themselves. Put a hole into something and fwd air speed and pressure is going to peel back casings and destroy internals. Hit an aerodynamic surface and its the same.
Supersonic missiles…chuck a expensive missile at it.

Lasers are going to be for 5km targets like drones and swarms. Relativly slow. You dont want to waste a high end expensive missile and a lasers mag depth will be way bigger.

Steve M
Steve M (@guest_750325)
9 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thanks GB, i can just see the beans counters saying oh ‘you got lasers’ don’t need 40mm/CIWS and only half dozen missiles, just to save money rather than understanding that they are additional requirement to deal with new threat that it isn’t effective to use -30 or Sea Ceptor

Chris.
Chris. (@guest_750233)
9 months ago

Don’t hold your breath!!!!. Great as long a bright sunny day or very clear and dry night.

JamesF
JamesF (@guest_750315)
9 months ago

This says Dragonfire is working well, so proceed towards production. And the Raytheon ground based system is also on track (it is based on a DEWS system already tested in US).

nicholas
nicholas (@guest_750506)
9 months ago

Silly question but would a mirror deflect the beam?

Simon
Simon (@guest_750524)
9 months ago
Reply to  nicholas

Given the laser power levels being talked about, it would be destroyed

FieldLander
FieldLander (@guest_750521)
9 months ago

I am not convinced. The Americans spent billions on the Airborne Laser and canned it. The sums being talked about just keep the UK at the DEW table. Nothing immediately deployable is likely to result. Maybe in 30 years.