MBDA Deutschland has successfully conducted tracking tests with its new high-energy laser effector under real environmental conditions for the first time.

Carried out at a military training facility on Germany’s North Sea coast, the trials marked the next step in the system’s progression from technology to product.

The trials were aimed to test the beam guidance and tracking system against a simulated engagement of preset airborne targets.

"These successful tests demonstrated that our laser effector has achieved a high degree of technological maturity."

During the exercise, MBDA’s laser effector used its laser target illuminator to scan and hold an aim point for an extended period on a quadcopter that served as an airborne target. The quadcopter performed different highly dynamic manoeuvres at a variety of ranges.

The system was capable of successfully tracking all the targets engaged in the trials, even in hostile weather conditions, including heavy rain and storms, as well as at night and in poor visibility scenarios.

In other experiments, such as a simulated defence against a swarming attack, the demonstrator showed the ability to rapidly switch between targets approaching from different directions.

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MBDA Deutschland managing director Thomas Gottschild said: “These successful tests demonstrated that our laser effector has achieved a high degree of technological maturity.”

Integrated into a standard container and equipped with a 360° beam guidance system, the effector features high-precision scalability of effect, with low logistics costs.

The system's advanced mirror optics are capable of using higher laser power levels and has been proven effective against a range of targets, such as rapidly manoeuvrable targets including mini-unmanned aerial vehicles.

Image: Tracking tests with MBDA Germany’s new laser effector. Photo: courtesy of MBDA.