Rheinmetall and the German Bundewehr have jointly conducted testing of a high-energy laser effector (HEL) mounted on a German warship.
The testing of the 10kW HEL effector atop the MLG27 light naval gun was conducted to demonstrate the technology's effectiveness in maritime operations.
During testing, the technology was engaged to track potential targets, which ranged from small to highly manoeuvrable targets including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and very small surface craft, as well as stationary targets on land.
The results of the test will provide insights that are crucial in the development of future HEL naval effectors.
The laser weapon technology is said to offer flexibility to escalate and deescalate the system.
When directed at optics, radio antennas, radars, ammunition, or energy sources, it can neutralise a weapon system without entirely destroying them.
According to Rheinmetall, the HEL effectors are silent, high-precision weapons featuring an extended range, and can be integrated with a range of conventional effectors to form a weapon system.
The MLG27 light naval gun system, designed and delivered by Rheinmetall, is aimed at protecting small surface combatants and other small vessels and can also serve as a secondary armament on larger craft.
The 27mm naval weapon system features an integrated electro-optical sensor package with TV camera, thermal imager, laser range finder, tilt sensor, stabilised mirror system and video tracking system for automatic and manual target tracking.
Image: An MLG 27 mounted on Elbe class tender of the German Navy. Photo: courtesy of Rebell18190.