The Pentagon has been developing both offensive and defensive laser weapon capabilities for a number of years.
As such, the US military has tested laser weapon systems that can be mounted on a variety of platforms, including ships, trucks and aircraft. The purpose of the above-mentioned systems? To intercept and destroy incoming projectiles, including missiles, drones and artillery shells.
Essentially, these weapons are designed to strike and destroy incoming targets by puncturing fuel tanks and other components at high speeds.
Recently, a German defense company known as Reheinmetall successfully tested a 50 kW high-energy laser weapon, encompassing an entire operational sequence from target detection to engagement.
The test was conducted in Switzerland during snowy conditions and in blinding sunlight. The laser-based platform boasts five times the power of a 10 kW version the company showcased in 2011, allowing the laser system to be used for numerous battlefield scenarios, such as air defense, rocket, artillery, mortar, and asymmetric warfare ops.
The 50 kW laser technology demonstrator comprised a pair of functional models, including a 30 kW weapon station integrated into a Oerlikon Revolver Gun air defense turret for static and dynamic testing. The second module was a 20 kW weapon station integrated into a similar turret for static testing.
During the test, the 50 kW laser weapon demonstrator successfully cut through a 15 mm thick steel girder at a distance of 1000 m. The weapon system was also able to destroy several nose-diving target drones at a range of 2 km that were flying at a speed of over 50 m per second.
One of the more impressive tests? The laser weapon system managed to track and engage an extremely small ballistic target – a steel ball measuring 82 mm in diameter and traveling at approximately 50 m/s. The small target represented a mortar round and was destroyed in flight.