In a recent written question to the Ministry of Defence, Conservative MP Sarah Atherton inquired about the steps being taken to ensure the operational readiness of the DragonFire laser weapon system.

Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Defence, responded with details on the ongoing efforts to validate and mature the DragonFire system.

According to Shapps, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) has conducted operational analysis and confirmed with the Royal Navy that the DragonFire system will provide a capability that is operationally relevant.

“DSTL have conducted operational analysis of the proposed system and have confirmed with the Royal Navy that the DragonFire system will provide operationally relevant capability,” Shapps stated.

He also mentioned that a rigorous test programme is already in place, designed to provide further evidence and validation of the system’s capabilities. This programme leverages the existing DragonFire system and has commenced multiple work streams to mature Defence Lines of Development, aiming to deliver a Minimum Deployable Capability.

“An established test programme using the existing DragonFire system will provide further evidence and validation. The programme has already commenced multiple work streams to mature Defence Lines of Development to deliver Minimum Deployable Capability,” Shapps added.

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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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Bulkhead
Bulkhead (@guest_820420)
16 days ago

Ummmm When I see it….😎

Jacob
Jacob (@guest_821018)
14 days ago
Reply to  Bulkhead

If you see it. It’s probably too late late for you..

chris
chris (@guest_820433)
16 days ago

After years of R&D The USAF have abandoned the SHiELD project!!So I will not be holding my breath for DragonFire.

Patrick C
Patrick C (@guest_820451)
16 days ago
Reply to  chris

the US army has deployed laser weapons in the middle east. recently some on stryker vehicles and some containerized. the US navy has had them deployed on ships for over a decade and procuring more. laser tech works. and the USAF has had more than one laser program so they may have found something better than SHIELD

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_820487)
16 days ago
Reply to  Patrick C

It seems some opinion from the field is not that positive: Search for this article from Breaking Defense. Army soldiers not impressed with Strykers outfitted with 50-kilowatt lasers, service official saysArmy Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James Mingus said at the time that the goal was to experiment in a live environment complete with weather challenges and dust storms that can alter light particles and degrade beam quality.“You may have a 50-kilowatt laser, [but] at 10 kilometers can you put at least four kilowatts in a centimeter square because … that’s what you need to burn through a quarter inch… Read more »

Lee1
Lee1 (@guest_820501)
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Dragon fire is more likely to be used against drones and light boats. For this it is probably a really good system that will cost a lot less per shot than firing a missile or even a machine gun. It will work in conjunction with existing weapon systems. If it is foggy then the ship will just use the missiles etc it always has done. Dragon fire just gives another cheap option in most conditions.

Lonpfrb
Lonpfrb (@guest_820592)
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Scepticism is healthy. Test quality requires understanding the assumptions and the requirements to design relevant tests. Lives depend on it.
Obviously history includes products that are not sufficient because these assumptions and requirements are found wanting in the real world..

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_820601)
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

I’m guessing that drones in common use today don’t hve quarter inch steel plate. Let’s try solving the problems that currently exist but allowing a path to evolve into something better.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_820771)
15 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Small drone don’t have steel but the problem is still to maintain the laser in same spot continuously, if the drone wanders and the sport is not maintained there is no energy buildup to destroy even if not steel.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_820863)
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

True. Probably not an insoluble problem but probably one of the most important. Solving this problem will be useful regardless of the power of the device.

AHG
AHG (@guest_820604)
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Wouldn’t it be just used for slicing and dicing enemy humans at the same range? Melting steel is a big ask with even just a bit of a roll/movement. It’s grim stuff that feels like it belongs in the same category as blinding lasers, nerve, chemicals and bio. It wouldn’t stop NK or Russia working on them though..

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_820774)
15 days ago
Reply to  AHG

Yes with it should be possible that grim stuff…

Frank Moser
Frank Moser (@guest_820550)
16 days ago
Reply to  chris

It’s happening. 100%

David Smile
David Smile (@guest_820635)
15 days ago
Reply to  chris

That doesn’t really mean a whole lot.
The Americans abandoned many projects saying to difficult, or impossible, then other nations, often the Brits, then show that it is possible, and with a fraction of the budget 😉 😁

John Walton
John Walton (@guest_820680)
15 days ago
Reply to  chris

The US have already used them on Maui leaving the presidents house untouched

Bob
Bob (@guest_820436)
16 days ago

May, so DSTL should be planning trials for the new financial year.
H&S, trials plans should be good to go by about September/October 🙃

Nath
Nath (@guest_820499)
16 days ago

Lasers are just the beginning. This is a new frontier of weapons technology and even if the first decades are characterised by mediocre successes the learning and technologies developed today will create new opportunities and approaches for the future. Failure at this time is good. There’s no better way and time to learn and develop when at peace but under real world “operationally relevant” conditions.

John Walton
John Walton (@guest_820679)
15 days ago

Why play about the USA already have them in space
they were responsible for the Maui fires !.

Leaving the presidents house untouched

Steve
Steve (@guest_820950)
15 days ago

Lasers systems can always be defeated by using reflective heat resistant surfaces, however, they do have a place in taking out the current generation of small FPV drones. Just don’t expect them to be much use for subsequent generations of drones.