Chess Dynamics has joined the Thales-led team to support the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) naval capability demonstrator programme (CDP).

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) recently awarded three contracts, worth around £72.5m, to develop advanced laser and radio frequency demonstrators as part of the Novel Weapons Programme (NWP).

Consortia headed by Thales and Raytheon UK were awarded the four-year contracts.

The Thales-led team has been selected to deliver an advanced directed energy (DE) system.

The first laser will undergo user testing onboard a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate. Details about the vessel to be used remain undisclosed.

The demonstration will explore detecting, tracking, engaging and countering functionalities against threats such as uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) with the laser system.

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Under the CDP contract, Chess will design and build an ultra-high accuracy positioner (UHAP) to accurately steer and point a high energy laser system.

It will include an electro-optical (EO) targeting pod comprising the latest generation EO sensors, including high-definition (HD) thermal imager and TV cameras.

Chess Dynamics Group managing director David Tuddenham said: “We are delighted to be selected by Thales for this highly prestigious programme.

“Whilst our Sea Eagle naval gunfire control system is already in service with 11 navies around the world, the opportunity to custom design the ultra-high accuracy positioner for the Royal Navy’s first directed energy capability demonstrator is an honour.

“This contract award reflects our customers confidence in Chess’s ability to deliver such a critical element of the overall directed energy system.”

Chess is designing this platform to enable a highly accurate direction of the high-energy laser system being supplied by Thales.

This new platform’s design will be drawn from electro-mechanical positioner designs and other subsystems earlier developed by Chess.