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Maneuvering mini drone quickly destroyed in laser test

A laser from MBDA quickly destroyed a moving mini drone from a range of more than 1,600 feet during testing in Germany.

By Richard Tomkins
Maneuvering mini drone quickly destroyed in laser test
MBDA Deutschland deployed a laser effector to acquire, track and defeat a free-flying mini drone. Photo courtesy MBDA Deutshland

SCHROBENHAUSEN, Germany, June 17 (UPI) -- A laser system from MBDA Deutschland successfully acquired, tracked and defeated a free-flying mini drone maneuvering in a target area 1,640 feet away.

The test was conducted last month at a company site in Schrobenhausen, the company said, and the laser effector destroyed the drone in just a matter of seconds after the test began.

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"At the heart of MBDA Deutschland's technological approach is a multi-stage, highly precise tracking procedure and laser effector that bundles numerous laser sources into a single laser beam using the principle of geometric coupling," the company said. "These processes make it possible to combat small, highly agile targets reliably with a single laser effector."

MBDA Deutschland said the use of lasers could be an effective counter to the malicious use of mini drones. In 2013, a mini drone crashed about 20 feet from German Chancellor Angela Merkel during an election campaign event. More than 60 overflights by such craft over strategically significant locations have been reported in France since last October.

A highly precise and scalable laser weapon systems could protect major events and critical infrastructures, it said.

MBDA Deutschland is conducting studies on laser-armament options for waterborne platforms and ground-based mobile laser effector concepts for close and intermediate-range protection against micro-UAVs and rockets.

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Additional details of the test and the laser system used were not disclosed.

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