Truck-mounted laser shoots down unmanned aerial vehicle

January 28th, 2009 - 4:16 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 28 (ANI): Aerospace firm Boeing has reported that their prototype truck-mounted laser has shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at a missile range in New Mexico, US.

According to a report in New Scientist, mounted on a Humvee off-road vehicle, the Laser Avenger is an infrared laser with power levels somewhere in the tens of kilowatts range.

It is designed to take down the smaller variety of UAV, which are hardest for conventional air-defence weapons to target.

The power of its laser has been doubled since 2007, when it was shown off destroying a stationary improvised bomb.

Now it has tracked three small UAVs and shot one of them down.

The laser tracks an object and holds fire until the target is close enough for it to cause burning with a single blast.

Marc Selinger, a Boeing spokesman based in Crystal City, Virginia, has not disclosed at what distance this was achieved, saying it was an operationally relevant range.

The feat is all the more important because the tracking was achieved against the complex, cluttered visual background of the New Mexico mountains and desert scenery, he said.

The Laser Avenger is a modified version of an existing US Army air defence system that uses two Stinger missile launchers and a heavy machine gun, with one missile pod swapped for the laser and its target tracker.

If funded by the Pentagon, the Laser Avenger could be available within a year, according to Selinger.

Firing a laser multiple times would also be cheaper than firing many missiles, and could continue as long as power can be supplied.

However, Browns colleague Peter Felstead, editor of Janes Defence Weekly, said that the first battlefield lasers will not have UAVs in their sights.

Laser weapons are more likely to be fielded first to counter rockets and mortars, and that capability is not that far away, he said. (ANI)

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