BAE Systems has launched a £30 million programme to determine the military utility of Laser Directed Energy Weapons (LDEWs) and to study integration on to UK military aircraft, ships and land vehicles.
With UK and allied military personnel facing evolving threats around the globe there is an emerging need for a new type of highly-precise, targeted and agile weapon system. LDEWs, which neutralise or disable targets through the use of focused light energy, can be used in the land, sea and air domains, for a range of operations from mine clearance to anti-missile defence. They are set to change both the nature of warfare and the shape of future military platforms.
BAE Systems’ self-funded programme aims to accelerate the potential introduction of LDEW capabilities by building confidence in their utility, affordability and safety, through a sequence of demonstrations. Using the company’s extensive systems engineering expertise, BAE Systems’ objective is to demonstrate how such systems might be used operationally by the mid-2020s.
Working alongside the MOD and wider industry, BAE Systems’ world class engineers will identify potential solutions to the practical challenges of integrating such technologies onto military platforms in a safe, secure and cost-effective manner.
BAE Systems’ Combat Systems Director Richard Williams said: “LDEWs are a modern, accurate and versatile technology that will improve the ability of our Armed Forces to defend themselves and keep our people safe. Integrating an LDEW capability presents a number of challenges that we will address through our strong experience in technology innovation, ability to lead diverse teams and strong experience in collaborating with partners and academia. By the mid-2020s we expect to see LDEWs in service on UK military platforms, with BAE Systems positioned as the intelligent integrator of choice across the land, sea and air domains”.