Latest DragonFire laser trials deliver a UK first

MBDA and its partners in the DragonFire consortium have successfully carried out the first static high power laser firing of a sovereign UK capability at the Dstl’s range in Porton Down on 17th October 2022.

Using QinetiQ’s phase-combined laser demonstrator, generating in the order of 50kW of power, focused by Leonardo’s Beam Director and delivered using MBDA’s advanced image processing and command and control (C2) system, the trials showed that DragonFire could safely control and focus a high power laser onto an extremely precise point at long range.

The firing was part of a second set of tests in a series of trials to prove the accuracy and power of the novel DragonFire laser weapon. The first trials, announced in July 2022, proved DragonFire can successfully track, and hit, air and sea targets with exceptionally high accuracy.

These successful trials are the latest step in accelerating delivery of a UK sovereign laser directed energy weapon (LDEW) capability. MBDA, Leonardo, QinetiQ and Dstl working together are putting the UK at the forefront of research & technology in this field. The results from these trials have verified analysis and given the team confidence that DragonFire will offer a near term and unique capability.

Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK

The next step will be to combine the outcomes of these first two trials, pairing the proven tracking accuracy and the high power laser, by engaging targets in operationally representative scenarios.

Source: MBDA news release

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