AIM Defence’s anti drone laser demonstrated to Army


The Australian Army is turning to directed-energy weapons as one-way of embracing emerging technology to counter off-the-shelf small multi-rotor uncrewed aerial vehicles.

Recently at the Army’s At a Puckapunyal range in Victoria, AIM Defence demonstrated its Fractl Portable High Energy Laser which is powerful enough to burn through steel and can track objects as small as a 10-cent piece travelling 100kmph a kilometre away.

The laser is ‘silent, virtually motionless and soldiers can be taught to use it in minutes’, according to an article published by the Army.

Corporal Patrick Flanagan successfully shot down a drone and said: “You push a button to track the drone and the computer takes over, then you push another button to ‘pull the trigger’ just like a video game.

“With your index finger you can quickly change your aim between the drone’s video camera, centre mass or one of the propellers.

“It only takes seconds to knock out the camera and two or three seconds to disable the rotor.”

Melbourne based AIM Defence designed the suitcase-sized laser that can burn a hole in a drone using less than the amount of power it takes to boil a kettle.

At the Puckapunyal demonstration, the team ‘hard killed’ a drone at 500m with a deployable prototype.

The laser’s strength is limited by the power supply and AIM Defence has successfully engaged drones at 1km in past tests.

Co-founder Jessica Glenn said: “It paints a pathway toward getting this novel wavelength to match similar ranges as our one-micron system, which is achieving 1.5km counter sensor and approximately 1km hard kill engagements.”

According to the Army, directed-energy counter-UAS weapons’ effectiveness was pronounced during a side-by-side demonstration with armoured crews in the days before the showcase.

Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office’s (RICO) Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Eli Lea said traditional kinetic weapons consumed a lot of ammunition.

Lea said: “Laser weapons essentially have an endless magazine as long as there’s power.

“Modern fire control systems specifically designed to track and engage drones are what’s needed.”

In recent years a number of local companies such as DroneShield, Electro Optic Systems and AIM Defence have developed kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities.

Adapted from a story by By Corporal Jacob Joseph

Picture: Australian Army

Share this Story

Stay Informed

Go to Top