Rheinmetall beaming following successful laser weapon test

Contributor:  Defence IQ Press
Posted:  01/08/2013  12:00:00 AM EST
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Rheinmetall has successfully tested its new 50kW high-energy weapon technology demonstrator by engaging and destroying two UAVs from a distance of two kilometres.

The test was conducted at Rheinmetall’s Ochsenboden Proving Groud (EZO) in Switzerland, in snowy conditions and blinding sunlight, and was initially supposed to show the increase in efficiency of the 50kW HEL weapon compared with the 10kW version demonstrated last year. A five-fold increase in laser power was available for the individual scenarios, which included Air Defence, Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar/C-RAM, and Asymmetric Warfare operations.

The tests were also intended to prove that separately located HEL weapon stations using Rheinmetall’s existing Beam Superimposing Technology (BST) can irradiate a single target in a superimposed, cumulative manner.

The 50kW HEL weapon technology demonstrator consisted of two functional models: a 30kW weapon station integrated into an Oerlikon Revolver Gun air defence turret for static and dynamic tests, coupled with an Oerlikon Skyguard fire control unit; and a 20kW weapon station integrated into a Revolver Gun turret of the first-generation, patched in for static tests. There were also additional modules for supplying power.

Furthermore, a 15mm-thick steel girder was cut through at a distance of 1,000 metres. The successful shooting down of several nose-diving target drones at a range of two kilometres formed the second major highlight; the Skyguard radar detecting the incoming unmanned aerial vehicles at a distance of three kilometres. The third highlight of the tests was the detection, pursuit and successful engagement of an extremely small ballistic target. Representing a mortar round, a steel ball measuring 82 mm in diameter and travelling at approximately 50 m/sec was engaged and destroyed in flight.

Based on the success of the tests Rheinmetall plans to set up a company-financed 60kW technology demonstrator in 2013 with greater laser output. Besides laser weapon stations, the plan calls for integrating 35mm Ahead Revolver Guns into the system. This will enable Rheinmetall engineers to identify and study possible synergies between laser weapons and automatic cannon. The concept for a mobile HEL weapon, which was successfully implemented with 1kW functional model mounted on a special TM170 vehicle, will also be pursued, this time with different mobile platforms. The objective here is to explore the parameters for integrating an HEL weapon on vehicles operating in the open.

Defence IQ Press Contributor:   Defence IQ Press

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