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The UK Ministry of Defense is looking to develop cutting-edge laser and radio frequency weapons which have the potential to revolutionize the battlefield.
The Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) are powered solely by electricity and operate without ammunition. 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.
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.
The UK MOD announcement said it was seeking to develop three new DEW demonstrators to explore the potential of the technology and accelerate its introduction onto the battlefield.
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 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 Program Office and the recruitment of personnel to manage the program.
The ministry 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, according to gov.uk. 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.