50 kW high-energy laser weapon from Rheinmetall successfully demonstrated

Kiel, Germany--Rheinmetall has successfully detected, tracked, and engaged targets using a 50kW high-energy laser (HEL) weapon demonstrator that uses Beam Superimposing Technology. The company said that separately located HEL weapon stations using Rheinmetall's technology can irradiate a single target in a superimposed, cumulative manner.

Rheinmetall said the HEL testing with the beam-combining laser technology was conducted at a company proving ground in Switzerland and involved scenarios such as air defense, counter-rocket, artillery, mortar/C-RAM and asymmetric warfare operations, and that the tests took place in snowy conditions and blinding sunlight.

"These tests have silenced the skeptics, proving that Rheinmetall's HEL weapon technology demonstrators can neutralize targets even under the most difficult weather conditions, including snow, dazzling sunlight, ice and rain," Rheinmetall said. Furthermore, Rheinmetall says the tests provide compelling proof that it leads the way in matching the energy and cooling requirements of a future HEL weapon system to the operational scenario requirements.

"Compared to last year [when a 10kW demonstrator was tested], Rheinmetall has significantly increased the power density (kW per cubic meter) of the technology demonstrator, enabling it produce twice the laser output within the same volume," the company added. The 50 kW HEL weapon technology demonstrator tested consisted of 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 Revolver Gun turret patched in for static tests. There were also additional modules for supplying power, Rheinmetall said.

The demonstration cut through a half-inch-thick steel girder from more than 3,200 feet, the company said and also shot down several target drones at a range of about 1.2 miles.

Rheinmetall plans to set up a 60kW technology demonstrator in the months ahead.

SOURCE: United Press International; www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2013/01/02/Rheinmetalls-50kW-laser-proves-worth/UPI-56181357105740/

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