Rheinmetall Successfully Tests 50 kW Laser Weapon

December 24, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Laser weapons do sound a bit ominous. Especially since you can imagine the level of destruction a high energy laser can achieve, thanks to the deluge of sci-fi movies we have seen.

Anyway, a new 50 kW high-energy weapon laser demonstrator was tested by Rheinmetall. The testing took place at the German-based group’s Ochsenboden Proving Ground in Switzerland.

The 50 kW laser weapon was used against a series of targets and its power and improvements over last year’s 10 kW version was displayed. The weapon is designed for air defense, asymmetric warfare and Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) operations.
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The device consists of two laser modules which are mounted on Oerlikon Revolver Gun air defense turrets. Additional modules are fitted for power supply.

Rheinmetall’s Beam Superimposing Technology (BST) is employed to focus a 20 kW and a 30 kW laser on the same spot. The combined strength of two lasers will give it the destructive power of a single 50 kW laser.

Since the testing of a 50 kW laser was successful, the company says that we can expect laser weapons of 100 kW power.

Three different targets were used for testing. A steel girder of 15 mm thickness was cut through from a distance of 1000 meters.

The second target was a group of nose-diving target drones, flying at 50 meters per second, were detected at a range of three kilometers and shot down at 2 kilometers within a few seconds. Finally, a simulated mortar attack, using a steel ball of 82 mm in diameter and moving at 50 meters per second, was tracked and destroyed quickly.

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Rheinmetall says that the duration in which the mortar ball was tracked and shot was fast enough to engage and destroy enemy mortars at long range, even if the weather is bad. The company is pleased with the test results and said that the weapon can be operated under any condition, be it snow, dazzling sunlight, ice or rain.

The company’s next mission is to build a 60 kW laser demonstrator next year and try and find out how to integrate 35 mm Ahead Revolver Guns into the system. They are also looking to build a mobile version of the system.

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