The UK Ministry of Defense has awarded 30 million pounds (around $36 million) contract to produce prototype laser weapon in order to make first laser weapons by the mid-2020s.
The agreement has been finalized with a consortium of European defense firms, known as UK Dragonfire and consisting of MBDA, Qinetiq, Leonardo-Finmeccanica GKN, Arke, BAE Systems and Marshall ADG, BBC News reported today.
The prototype is not being developed with a specific threat in mind, but to assess whether this type of weaponry, using directed energy technology, could benefit the armed forces, the ministry spokesperson said.
However directed energy weapons can be used, generally, to destroy drone aircraft, missiles, mortars, roadside bombs and many other threats.
The prototype weapon will be assessed on its ability to pick up and track targets at different range, in varying locations and weather conditions. If successful, the project could result in a demonstration of the system in 2019, and the first laser weapons could come into service by the mid-2020s.
The type of weaponry could be used to target drones, missiles and mortars, among other threats.