Britain Unveils Revolutionary New Defense Weapon

( – Britain has released a video from a January test of its new laser-directed energy weapon (LDEW) system called DragonFire.

The video captured what the ministry describes as a “successful use” of the new laser system, showing a bright laser beam that creates a ball of light as it hits its target over a firing range in a remote area of Scotland.

According to the United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry, the new system has the potential to be a “game changer for air defense.” The UK Defense Ministry says for around $13 for a 10-second laser burst, the new laser weapon can deliver lethal missile or aircraft defense, precisely hitting targets as small as a coin “over long ranges.” It did not give an exact range but did say the laser could take down “drones from several positions miles away.”

After the January test of DragonFire, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapp said the new laser weapon could potentially “revolutionize the battlespace.”

As low-cost drones have shown their effectiveness in Ukraine and the Red Sea attacks by Houthi rebels, the cost of air defense missiles has been discussed. The UK Defense Ministry says the price is a fraction of the current price of air defense missiles, as the Standard Missile-2 used for air defense by the United States Navy costs over $2 million per shot.

Britain was not the first to develop a laser defense system to shoot down aerial targets. The U.S. Navy tested and deployed a laser weapon system that is capable of engaging drones, small boats, and small aircraft in 2014 in the Persian Gulf on the USS Ponce. A more advanced system was tested on the USS Portland in 2020 and 2021 by the U.S. Navy. A laser system still undergoing testing was installed in 2022 on the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble. A high-energy laser system was also successfully tested by the U.S. Navy in 2022 against a target representing a cruise missile.

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