QinetiQ to manufacture high power defence lasers


Defence contractor QinetiQ has revealed it has won a $13 million directed energy laser weapon development contract in Australia.

Revealed in the UK Group’s third quarter trading update, the three-year contract will see its Australian arm ‘develop and manufacture a high energy defensive laser weapon system prototype, to establish a sovereign in-country High Energy Laser manufacturing capability for Australia’, according to the update.

QinetiQ said: “This win is a great example of global leverage of our technology across our home countries, deploying our UK directed energy expertise into Australia to support the development of this critical sovereign industrial capability for the Australian Department of Defence.”

QinetiQ Group did not reveal any further details of the proposed ‘defensive’ laser system, however the programme may be similar to QinetiQ Group plc’s involvement in the UK DRAGONFIRE consortium which is working to achieve a significant step change in the UK’s high energy laser weapon systems capability.

Through a new laser capability demonstrator programme, ‘Team DRAGONFIRE will mature the key technologies for a high energy defensive laser weapon system, enabling the engagement of representative targets on land and at sea in 2019’, according to the parent company.

“This will provide the body of evidence for future procurement decisions alongside developing UK industrial capability and know-how, so that collectively the UK can respond more effectively to both threats and the emerging business opportunities in the UK and overseas.”

The new laser weapon demonstrator being built for the UK Ministry of Defence (pictured) was unveiled for the first time in 2017 by the UK Dragonfire consortium at DSEI 2017 in London.

“For the first time, the consortium has revealed the design of the turret – known as a beam director – that will be used to trial this new technology.

“The beam director, which will be provided by Leonardo, brings together QinetiQ’s powerful laser emitter, as well as world-class electro-optics for target identification and tracking.”

“…Among the uses of (these) systems are providing very short-range air defence capability, close-in protection for naval vessels, counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and protecting friendly forces from mortar and artillery attack.”

Picture: QinetiQ Group

Defence   Technology  
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