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The growing threat posed by surveillance or attack drones is becoming more complex as a result of the diversity of drone types and their high degree of autonomy. More defense systems are needed to confront the challenge.

A laser system capable of neutralizing not only drones but also the optronics means of the adversary has been under development in France. 

The French Defense Ministry’s innovation agency (AID) has started a series of trials of the HELMA-P counter-UAV laser system in cooperation with laser and optronics company CILAS which is leading the development effort.

The mobile system could provide rapid engagement capabilities and take part in the protection of convoys and tactic units, according to the French Defense Ministry website.

The first week of the HELMA-P testing took place at the missile test site at Biscarrosse (Landes) in mid-October. It was the first of five testing rounds that are scheduled to occur between 2020 and 2021.

The system was installed on a tripod for several so-called “fichants” shots (shots towards the ground) at a distance of up to 1 kilometer.

Over the coming weeks, the system will be tested against a range of different UAV models, which will be engaged at different altitudes.

According to defbrief.com, the company leading the development of the HELMA-P is also at the helm of the European TALOS (Tactical Advanced Laser Optical System) program, which aims to develop a EU high-power laser effector that could be integrated in military applications in the next decade.