Anti-UAV laser from Raytheon on display at the Farnborough Airshow
12:00 AM, July 19, 2010
The Laser Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) was put on display by Raytheon at the Farnborough Airshow. The laser weapon system can either be used on its own or alongside a gunnery system. In May, the laser was used to shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a series of tests. The UAV shot down in flames when it got in contact of the laser. The Laser system uses a solid state fiber laser which produces a 50 kilowatt beam that can be used against UAV, mortar, rockets and small surface ships. Until recently, the solid state lasers were thought not able to reach the same power levels as chemical lasers and so were not deemed suitable for military use. The system is already said to have been installed in many ships, both in the US and other NATO nations, such as the Royal Navy. In May, the firm knocked out a number of UAVs at the US Navy test range on San Nicolas Island off the coast of California. This was the first time a UAV threat has been targeted and neutralized in a marine environment. On a ship, the laser can be mounted inside a ship and the beam fed up through fiber cables.
The firm is also working on a sister land based system that can be used to target mortar and rocket rounds. The laser system throws up a big pool of applications around the globe, it can be used as a last line of defense. And potentially in wartime situation like in Afghanistan or Iraq they could prove out to be handy. Also for use on land the laser system could be mounted in trailers.