Rheinmetall demos laser that can shoot down drones - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14144342
BBC wrote:Rheinmetall demos laser that can shoot down drones

A laser weapons system that can shoot down two drones at a distance of over a mile has been demonstrated by Rheinmetall Defence.

The German defence firm used the high-energy laser equipment to shoot fast-moving drones at a distance.

The system, which uses two laser weapons, was also used to cut through a steel girder a kilometre away.

The company plans to make the laser weapons system mobile and to integrate automatic cannon.

The 50kW laser weapons system used radar and optical systems to detect and track two incoming drones, the company said. The nose-diving drones were flying at 50 metres per second, and were shot down when they reached a programmed fire sector.

[...]


Laser weapons are definitely becoming a reality. Once they're powerful enough to destroy aircraft at any altitude, whilst still being small enough to mount on a vehicle then I suppose that is the end of the line for manned aircraft?
#14147398
There are a lot of groups that have come up with demonstrations of this kind of technology, though its still some way off from meeting the performance requirements to be useful in the field (though I think the mine clearing laser has been used OK).

The modern (or ancient) anti-aircraft cannon for example offers ranges of up to 4 km against targets flying >250 m/sec, plus it is unaffected by weather and offers high reliability with its own power supply (at least for cannon operation, radar and that are otherwise). So for the next few years at least the cannon and missile are going to remain king of short range anti-aircraft weapons.

I suppose that is the end of the line for manned aircraft?


Problem with the laser is that its line of sight, missiles and to some extent cannon can avoid this limitation using ballistic flight paths and a data-link to see over the horizon. Take the example of this sneaky missile popping over the coastline, lasers are fast but the missile will likely be within the reaction time of the system and against clutter there's no certainty it will be detected anyway...

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