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A breakthrough development in the history of defense technology, lasers engage targets at the speed of light, operating with great precision and producing very little collateral damage. 

A high-energy laser weapon system will soon be built, tested, and fielded for the German Navy. A consortium consisting of MBDA Deutschland and Rheinmetall Waffe Munition has won a contract to fabricate, integrate and support testing of a laser weapon demonstrator in the maritime environment.

Within the framework of the consortium, dubbed ARGE, Rheinmetall will be responsible for the laser weapon system, the beam guiding system, cooling, and integrating the weapon system with the overall laser source demonstrator. MBDA will focus on the operator console along with tracking technology and command-and-control system integration. 

This latest contract continues the companies’ collaboration on high-energy laser efforts, which was first announced in August 2019. Rheinmetall and the Germany military have been testing high energy laser technologies in the maritime domain since 2015, a company spokesman told defensenews.com.

This has become “one of the most ambitious projects in the field of laser weapon development in Europe,” said Alexander Graf, head of Rheinmetall Waffe Munition’s laser weapons program.

Once the demonstrator is installed, it will be used to test other aspects of the laser weapon system, such as the sensor suite and combat management system, and evaluate rules of engagement.

Work will be conducted through the end of 2021, with trials scheduled for 2022 aboard the Navy frigate Sachsen.