in Defence

MoD to develop cutting-edge laser and radio frequency weapons

Posted 10 July 2019 · Add Comment

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is developing cutting-edge laser and radio frequency weapons which have the potential to revolutionise the battlefield.

Above: Computer Generated Image illustrating the use of DEW on a Type 26 Frigate.
Crown copyright


The state-of-the-art weapons systems, known as Directed Energy Weapons (DEW), are powered solely by electricity and operate without ammunition.

The systems could be fuelled by a vehicle’s engine or a generator, significantly reducing their operating costs and providing unprecedented flexibility on the frontline.

In a Prior Information Notice (PIN) published this week, the MoD announced it is seeking to develop three new DEW demonstrators to explore the potential of the technology and accelerate its introduction onto the battlefield.

The laser weapons systems deploy high energy light beams to target and destroy enemy drones and missiles. Radio Frequency weapons are designed to disrupt and disable enemy computers and electronics.



Above: Computer Generated Image illustrating the use of DEW on a Wildcat helicopter.
Crown copyright


Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: "Laser and Radio Frequency technologies have the potential to revolutionise the battlefield by offering powerful and cost-effective weapons systems to our Armed Forces.

"This significant investment demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our Armed Forces operate at the forefront of military technology."

The new systems are expected to be trialled in 2023 on Royal Navy ships and Army vehicles but, once developed, both technologies could be operated by all three services. The Armed Forces will use these exercises to get a better understanding of DEW, test the systems to their limits and assess how they could be integrated with existing platforms.

The MoD aims to invest up to £130m in this package of Directed Energy Weapons, including the construction of the demonstrators, the creation of a new Joint Programme Office and the recruitment of personnel to manage the programme.

These demonstrators are part of the MoD’s 'Novel Weapons Programme' which is responsible for the trial and implementation of innovative weapons systems to ensure the UK remains a world leader in military technology. They are expected to reach the frontline within 10 years.

The MoD already has plans for initial trials of laser weapons systems, with the Dragonfire demonstrator commissioned by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to be tested later this year.

The Dragonfire represents a world-first in laser weapons technology, combining multiple laser beams to produce a weapons system that is more powerful than its predecessors and resistant to the most challenging environmental conditions.

The MoD also has over 30 years’ experience in Radio Frequency DEW, during which time the UK has become a world leader in developing new power generation technologies and a global hub for the performance testing and evaluation of these systems.


 

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

The space domain and UK security

In a recent interview with DSEI Senior Defence Advisor, Air Vice-Marshal (retd) Gary Waterfall, Air Vice Marshal Harv Smyth, Head of the UK Space Directorate, highlighted the vital role of the space domain for UK security.

Rolls-Royce secures US Navy debris detection research contract

Rolls-Royce has been awarded $1 million of research funding from the US Government for digital foreign object debris (FOD) detection technology.

Forum produces advanced SRV

Forum Energy Technologies today announced it has completed manufacturing a highly advanced submarine rescue vehicle (SRV) including cutting edge technologies, which may be utilised to extract submariners from distress

UN and UK sign agreement to promote space sustainability

International efforts to protect future space activity have been given a boost thanks to a new partnership between the UN and the UK government.

Research into South West electric air taxis gets government funding

A consortium led by Atkins, involving Vertical Aerospace and the West of England Combined Authority, has been awarded an industrial research grant by the UK Government to look at the feasibility of an air taxi service in the South West

Babcock Team Aurora develops plans for MoD sat comms

Babcock-led Team Aurora is putting collaboration, continuity and responsiveness at the heart of its solution to support the UKs the defence satellite communications system.

S&P SK1611110321
See us at
IDEX 2021 BT26221Security & Policing 2021 BT