Raytheon Unveil Laser Close-In Weapons System
Raytheon’s Laser Close-In Weapons System shoots down drone flying at 300mph…
Raytheon has recently unveiled its new Laser Close-In Weapons System at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow, England, 19 – 25th July. The new anti-aircraft laser is the first high-powered laser to successfully engage and destroy UAVs flying at 300mph from a distance of 2 miles.
The high-powered laser, known as the Laser Weapons System (LaWS), sits atop the Navy’s Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) and can be used on its own or in conjunction with the CIWS’s rapid-fire 20mm Gatling gun.
The LaWS relies on the CIWSs existing radar system to track its targets and to produce its high powered beam, 6 solid state lasers are concentrated into a single beam that delivers 32 mega watts of energy. The resulting laser beam is strong enough to engage and destroy UAVs, projectiles and small surface ships.
Check out the LaWS successfully engage and destroy a UAV in midflight.
The LaWS has overcome two major problems that occur when using laser weaponry. First, when engaging targets at sea, the damp maritime air can absorb the energy before it reaches the target; another problem is that reflective surfaces can reduce the effectiveness of the laser, and unfortunately that’s exactly what coats most UAVs, missiles and ships.
Raytheon Missile Systems’ vice president, Mike Booen, said:
“Every material reflects, but you can overcome this with power; once you get over a certain threshold – measured in multiple kilowatts – then the laser does what it is designed to do,”
While most technical specifications are being kept under wraps, we do know that the company is working on a land-based model – perhaps similar to Boeing’s Laser Avenger?
Editor of Jane’s Defence Weekly, Mr Felstead, said it could have “great capability” as a last line of defence in many situations.
“There are numerous real world applications for a laser than can knock out airborne threats, especially mortars and rockets…
“Airbases in Afghanistan, the Green Zone in Baghdad or the border with Gaza and Israel could all potentially use something like this…”
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