An MBDA-led UK DragonFire consortium has successfully carried out the first high-power, long-range laser directed energy weapon (LDEW) trial.

It was hosted by the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

The Dragonfire consortium, comprising of MoD, Dstl, MBDA, Leonardo and QinetiQ, executed the trials from Dstl’s Porton Down range in Wiltshire, England.

Conducted on 17 October, the trial involved firing of the DragonFire phase-combined laser demonstrator against different targets at different ranges, with pinpoint precision delivered by Leonardo-developed beam director.

The demonstrator, capable of producing in order of 50kW of power, is developed by QinetiQ, while MBDA provided advanced command-and-control and image processing system.

This trial validated the viability and performance of the LDEW. It also demonstrated DragonFire’s ability to safely control and focus a high-power laser onto a long-range accurate point.

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MBDA UK managing director Chris Allam said: “These successful trials are latest step in accelerating delivery of a UK sovereign LDEW capability.

“The results from these trials have verified analysis and given team confidence that DragonFire will offer a near-term and unique capability.”

The latest test was second in the series of trials conducted by the DragonFire consortium.

The series commenced in July this year to validate the weapon system’s capability to accurately track/hit sea-based and airborne targets.

The consortium will now combine results from the tests to evaluate LDEW in an operational environment.

The trial also marks the completion of an approximately £100m joint investment by the UK MoD and industry partners.

Dstl technical partner Ben Maddison said: “This trial has assessed the performance of laser itself – the outcome shows that the UK has world-leading capability in technologies associated with LDEW systems.”