Rheinmetall 50kW Anti-Aircraft/Mortar/Rocket Laser Weapon System: The Future of Air Defense?

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By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com

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January 22, 2013

Speaking of precision-guided weapons, Rheinmetall recently successfully tested a 50kW laser weapon against a 15mm/0.59-inch-thick steel girder at 1,000 meters (1000M), a group of nose-diving target drones flying at 50 meters per second (164 fps) at a distance of 1.24 miles (2 kilometers) and a 82mm (3.22-inch) simulated mortar round moving at 50 meters per second. The target drones were detected by the system at a range of 1.86 miles (3 kilometers) out. The system can reportedly be operated in adverse environmental conditions, including snow, “dazzling sunlight”, ice and rain.

Since Raytheon demonstrated a 50-kW laser weapon system at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow, it would appear that Rheinmetall is playing catch-up. However, Rheinmetall is claiming it will have a 60kW laser weapon with integrated 35mm Ahead Revolver Guns by late 2013, and that a 100kW laser is “feasible”.

DefenseReview (DR) sees mobile, multi-spectral high-engergy laser weapons systems as the natural follow-on to kinetic systems that utilize projectiles to intercept airborne threats, and it would appear that they will become the primary air-defense method of the future. Lasers can engage more airborne threats more quickly, more acurately, and seemingly more cost-effectively than anti-aircraft/anti-missile missile systems and ballistic systems like the Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapon System) Gatling gun (multi-barrel rotary machine gun). Speed kills, and nothing beats the speed of light.

Photo(s) Credit: Rheinmetall Defence

Company Contact Info:

Rheinmetall Defence/Rheinmetall AG Rheinmetall Platz 1 40476 Düsseldorf Germany Phone: +49 211 473-01 Fax: +49 211 473-4727 Email: info@rheinmetall.com Website: http://www.rheinmetall-defence.com/en/rheinmetall_defence/index.php

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About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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