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50-kW Laser Weapon Passes Tests

DÜSSELDORF, Germany, Dec. 20, 2012 — Rheinmetall has successfully tested its new 50-kW high-energy laser weapon technology demonstrator.

Rheinmetall, a global automotive components and defense equipment technology group, tested the laser at its Ochsenboden Proving Ground in Switzerland, in snowy conditions and blinding sunlight. It demonstrated a fivefold increase in laser power over its previous 10-kW version, which was demonstrated last year.

Rheinmetall successfully tested its new 50-kW high-energy laser weapon technology demonstrator in snowy conditions and blinding sunlight at its Ochsenboden Proving Ground in Switzerland. Image ©2012 Rheinmetall Air Defence AG.

The technology demonstrator consisted of two functional models: a 30-kW weapon station integrated into an Oerlikon revolver gun air defense turret for static and dynamic tests, coupled with an Oerlikon Skyguard fire control unit; and a 20-kW weapon station integrated into a first-generation Revolver Gun turret, patched in for static tests. There were additional modules for supplying power.

The device cut through a 15-mm-thick steel girder at a range of 1000 m, shot down several diving target unmanned aerial vehicles at a range of 2 km flying more than 50 m/s, and engaged an 82-mm-diameter steel ball representing a mortar round and traveling approximately 50 m/s.

Rheinmetall plans to build a 60-kW technology demonstrator in 2013 and integrate 35-mm Ahead Revolver Guns into the system to identify and study possible synergies between laser weapons and automatic cannon. The company will continue work on mobile high-energy laser weapons on different platforms.

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