Next month, Raytheon UK will take delivery of the UK’s first operationally ready high energy laser (HEL) weapon system to be tested and evaluated in Britain, with integration onto a Wolfhound armoured vehicle intended to help develop a better understanding of how such weapons may be fielded in future.
The 15kW-class laser has been developed by Raytheon to counter airborne threats such as UAS, and is the latest development in UK MoD’s Land Demonstrator programme, under which Raytheon UK was contracted two years ago to develop and install the system on a Wolfhound. “The arrival of this transformative technology is an important milestone in our collaboration with the MoD on using directed energy to address a variety of threats, from drones and UAVs to more complex missile systems,” said Julie Finlayson-Odell, Managing Director of Weapons and Sensors for Raytheon UK.
Testing in the USA earlier this year proved the system’s ability to acquire, track, target and destroy dozens of drone targets operating in short-range attack, swarm attack and long-range threat scenarios, under a variety of adverse weather conditions. Raytheon has delivered a total of eight HEL weapon systems to US military operators to date, which have defeated more than 400 targets over 25,000 operational hours. Raytheon UK is now building on the corporation’s current success, with its newly-inaugurated advanced laser integration centre in Scotland taking pole position as the programme moves forward.
For more information: www.raytheon.co.uk
(Image: The high-energy laser, designed for the counter-UAS and low-level air defence missions, will ve integrated onto a British Army Wolfhound vehicle. Credit: Raytheon UK)