This week at the Defence and Security Equipment Industry in London, German defense contractor Rheinmetall Defence Electronics showcased a new sea-based anti-drone laser system. The system, according to Chinese web site qq.com, features not one but four high energy lasers (HEL) mounted on turret, making it look like some kind of laser gun.
The principles behind the laser gatling aren’t exactly the same as a regular, bullet-spitting gatling gun. The four 20 kilowatt HELs are designed to be fired simultaneously, in a technique known as superimposition. All four fire at a target at once, and Rheinmetall’s technology combines them into a single powerful 80 kilowatt beam.
The four 20 kilowatt HELs are designed to be fired simultaneously, in a technique known as superimposition. All four fire at a target at once, and Rheinmetall’s technology combines them into a single powerful 80 kilowatt beam.
According to the company, using superimposition there’s not limit to the amount of energy that can be focused on a target—just add more lasers.
Janes.com also had coverage of the Rheinmetall navalised laser Rheinmetall displayed its latest high energy laser (HEL) configuration at DSEI 2015, with five 20 kW-class laser beam forming units (BFU) fitted to an MLG27 light naval gun mount.
Front view of Rheinmetall’s MLG27-mounted laser weapon, showing the weather flaps in their open positions and BFUs just visible. Source: IHS/Nick Brown
qq.com and Popular Mechanics shots of the laser
Rheinmetall High Energy Lasers
With its high-energy laser effector (HEL), Rheinmetall Defence last year made another important step toward a field-ready version of this groundbreaking technology. Rheinmetall has not only increased the laser power on the dynamic target over a distance of 3,000 meters but also made the laser weapon mobile.
Laser weapon capability was shown in mid-October 2013 at the 4th high-energy laser live demonstration at the company’s own test center in Ochsenboden in Switzerland. This event saw the first-ever deployment of mobile laser weapons in Europe: A 5 kW HEL was installed on the GTK Boxer wheeled tank, a 1 kW HEL on an M113 tracked vehicle, and a 20 kW HEL on an armored Tatra truck. In addition, a 30 kW laser was installed on a Skyshield gun turret.
With the 20 kW laser (Mobile HEL Effector) on the Tatra, Rheinmetall demonstrated how radio antenna, radars, ammunition, power supply systems and entire weapons systems can be neutralized or destroyed with minimum collateral damage. From a distance of 2,000 meters, optical devices such as telescopic sights on weapons and remote-control cameras were destroyed in seconds.
With its Air Defence HEL effector, Rheinmetall demonstrated the performance of HEL in air defense scenarios. In around four seconds, the 30 kW laser weapon technology demonstrator destroyed five 82 mm mortar shells from a distance of 1,000 meters.
SOURCES – Rheinmetall, Janes, Popular Mechanics, QQ.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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