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The german MBDA company has developed a laser technology that can, according to the company, intercept a small UAV from a distance of 3km. The laser, which gathers a force of four 10kw lasers into one beam that can shoot at 40kw, would be able to destroy a UAV from a distance of 5km within the next five years, when it reaches operational status, the company claims.
Interception experiments conducted in Germany displayed a 20kw laser beam that caused a mini-UAV to catch flames and crash at a distance of 500 meters. In a video presented at the Paris AirShow, the laser is seen intercepting the UAV in 3.39 seconds. Further experiments in the last few weeks have focused on autonomous acquisition of the target.
The company has been experimenting with this technology for over a decade. The system, partly funded by the Germany Ministry of Defence, make use of an external sensor like a radar that spots the target, when a low-power laser beam illuminates it for better targeting. Then an optic sensor is locked on target, directing the laser. The four beans are joined to one by a mirror. The system’s efficiency is 30%, meaning that 400-500kw of the battery power are needed to create the 100kw laser beam. As mentioned earlier, while the system itself isn’t yet in operational status, the technology behind it is test-proven and is expected to allow operating the system, the company says, within five years.