Rheinmetall's 50kW laser proves worth

Jan. 2, 2013 at 12:49 AM   |   0 comments

KIEL, Germany, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- A 50kW high-energy laser weapon demonstrator by Rheinmetall of Germany has successfully detected, tracked and engaged targets.

Rheinmetall said the testing 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.

The tests took place in snowy conditions and "blinding sunlight," the company said.

"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, the tests provide compelling proof that Rheinmetall 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/m3) of the technology demonstrator, enabling it produce twice the laser output within the same volume."

The tests, the company said, proved that separately located HEL weapon stations using Rheinmetall's existing Beam Superimposing Technology can irradiate a single target in a superimposed, cumulative manner.

The 50kW HEL weapon technology demonstrator tested consisted of a 30kW 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 20kW 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.

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