The French defense ministry said it conducted live tests of the High Energy Laser with Multiple Applications - Power (HELMA-P) aboard the Navy’s Horizon-class air defense frigate, Forbin (D620).
The test was conducted between June 12-14 in the Mediterranean sea by the Directorate General for Armaments (DGA), the French Navy and the CILAS company.
The ministry said it evaluated the weapon ‘successfully’ on land in 2020 and 2021. “The HELMA-P system has (now) also proven efficient and precise to neutralize hostile drones at sea. These tests open the door continued development of the prototype with a view to its eventual integration into the Navy buildings,” the MOD stated.
These tests are part of the DGA-led Anti-Drone Program (LAD), which aims to produce a prototype laser weapon from the HELMA-P demonstrator.
High Energy Laser with Multiple Applications – Power
The HELMA-P is a laser-based system designed for combating drones. Its operating principle involves the discharge of energy onto stationary or moving targets, which can result in a variety of outcomes, including: impairing optical sensors by overloading them, causing malfunctions due to overheating, warping, perforating, cutting, or even igniting the target.
The impact on the target, which could be up to 1 km away from the laser system, is guaranteed through the use of a high-powered laser and can be accomplished within seconds.
The system is capable of executing a full operation from initial detection to neutralization, made possible by its integration with radar.