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For the first time, a UAV was shot down by Turkish laser. On August 4, a combat vehicle armed with a combat laser destroyed another combat vehicle on the battlefield in Libya. It was described as a laser gun tested in battle. The incident did not attract much attention in the news although it has considerable ramifications.
The UAE-owned UAV Wing Loong II, a Chinese-made aircraft, was on an ordinary reconnaissance and combat mission. It was armed with an anti-tank missile and barraging over the Misurata area, conducting reconnaissance and looking for targets that could be destroyed by a direct attack. The departure, however, ended with the UAV being shot down.
Turkey, concerned about achieving military superiority in the region, has long and seriously invested in innovative weapon systems. While both Turkish Ministry of Defense press releases and the specialized press hinted that Turkish laser weapons would be primarily produced for the Navy, and in general, repeat American work.
In July 2018, the Aselsan holding, the largest Turkish military-industrial corporation,stated that it had successfully tested a combat laser capable of hitting small-sized UAVs from 500 meters, as well as destroying explosive devices from 200 meters.
The compact laser gun was installed on the Turkish Otokar Cobra armored car, and, most importantly, was equipped with a guidance system that allows you to continuously hold the laser marker on target.
Laser power cannot be compared with any kinetic ammunition. It is insignificant. The laser can tell the target only by heating a single point for a very long time and continuously. And this is exactly what the specialists in optoelectronic systems from Aselsan achieved. Their gun could “cling” to a specific point on the target and “warm” it until it was completely destroyed. Even if the target was moving.
Aselsan emphasized that it was able to achieve reliable target tracking, continuous laser operation and an extremely low shooting cost.
The Turkish installation, which shot down the UAV, is mounted on the chassis of an off-road armored car. Like the earlier Aselsan model, it is equipped with a Turkish-made optoelectronic guidance system. The system allows you to accurately inspect the target for firing, to select a vulnerable point, and then hold the laser marker on this point until the target is completely destroyed. Also, as with the previously demonstrated laser gun, a continuous radiation mode is provided, without long interruptions to the “pumping” of the laser.
The power of the gun is 50 kW. This is so far the most powerful combat laser in the Turkish ground combat vehicle.
According to armyrecognition.com, the interesting thing in this whole story is how essentially newcomers to the laser theme occupy that niche in which the “grandees” of laser business, such as Russia and the USA, do not even think to climb.