The U.S. military is planning to test a 300-kilowatt laser gun. It will be the most powerful weapon of its kind. Rather than shooting down small drones, it could be used to accurately engage and destroy nearby missiles, planes and helicopters.
A laser cannon mounted on a heavy truck and capable of shooting down a missile, plane or helicopter with one shot is the weapon the US Army plans to test next year. A weapon capable of delivering a laser of 300 kilowatts, that is, at least three times more powerful than what exists today.
This laser weapon system, the most powerful ever, is being designed by General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Boeing. The artist’s view of the system is less impressive than the weapon itself, since it is a large container placed on a tank or missile truck.
Obviously, for the moment the manufacturer is not releasing many technical details about the machine, but we know that it is not at all the same system as on the existing models.
A new technology for more destructive power
Thus, on other laser guns, several so-called fiber (optical) laser emitters are assembled, whose rays are concentrated into one. The only problem is that this type of laser heats up a lot, which limits its power to a range of 30 to 100 kilowatts in the best case.
The weapon is then barely sufficient to shoot down small drones, or mortar rounds. It was in fact this type of laser weapon, dubbed LaWS, that had been embarked on a U.S. Navy landing barge transport back in 2014.
For this new laser gun, GA-EMS combines large lens plates mounted in series. The first projects its beam into the second, it is amplified by the second and so on. The system heats up less and delivers more energy in the end. For the military, this weapon system remains defensive and should be used to neutralize very fast incoming threats or those evolving at very low altitude.