Rheinmetall and MBDA to build HELWS demonstrator for German corvette

9 August 2019 (Last Updated August 9th, 2019 14:48)

Rheinmetall and MBDA have reached an agreement to collaborate on building a high-energy laser effector for the German Navy’s K130 corvette.

Rheinmetall and MBDA to build HELWS demonstrator for German corvette
German corvette Braunschweig at the deperming range in Wilhelmshaven. Credit: Ein Dahmer.

Rheinmetall and MBDA have reached an agreement to collaborate on building a high-energy laser effector for the German Navy’s K130 corvette.

As part of the partnership, the companies will construct, integrate and test a laser demonstrator for the K130.

In defence applications, laser technology can be used to engage targets ‘at the speed of light with extreme precision and minimal collateral damage’.

Rheinmetall and MBDA will explore the capability of the laser technology under quasi-operational conditions by deploying a demonstrator onboard a German corvette.

MBDA Sales and Business Development head Peter Heilmeier said: “Cooperation between Rheinmetall and MBDA will be particularly beneficial for the Bundeswehr. Both companies will be leveraging their respective special strengths to make this German Navy project a resounding success.”

In a joint release, the firms stated that they will wait until the release of performance specification before making a decision on the division of responsibilities between them.

Germany’s military procurement agency, the Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-service Support (BAAINBw), will roll out the performance specification.

Rheinmetall Waffe Munition managing director Werner Krämer said: “We’re going to be cooperating very closely to put the military potential of laser technology to work for the Bundeswehr, boosting its operational readiness and combat effectiveness.

“Compared to other countries, too, our two companies possess extraordinary capabilities. Lasers offer new tactical possibilities on land, at sea and in the air. In partnership with the German Navy, we want to press ahead with this new technology.”

In February, Jane’s reported that BAAINBw is looking to issue a statement of work, followed by a request for proposals later this year for the integration of a high-energy laser weapon system (HELWS) demonstrator on board a German corvette.

The report added that the HELWS demonstrator would be optimised for counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) missions.