New record for the United Kingdom with the DragonFire laser


The UK's first successful firing of the DragonFire high-power Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) weapon system against aerial targets, during a trial at the UK Ministry of Defense range in the Hebrides.

This latest test, carried out by Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) and the DragonFire consortium partners - MBDA, Leonardo and QinetiQ - is the result of previous highly successful tests, including the first high-power static laser shot of a British sovereign capability and demonstration of the DragonFire system's ability to track moving air and naval targets with high accuracy, at long range.

The collaboration of the British consortium DragonFire It brings together the best of British industry and builds on decades of expertise in weapons system manufacturing to achieve enhanced multi-layered air defense capabilities across land and sea.

The weapon system DragonFire is the result of a joint £100 million investment by industry and the UK Ministry of Defense and, together, the companies involved support high-skilled jobs in the UK across cutting-edge new technologies, which are leading to a significant step change for UK capabilities in LDEW systems.

Chris Allam, managing director, MBDA UK, said: “Together, UK consortium partners DragonFire and the Dstl are demonstrating the UK's exceptional capability in directed energy laser weapons. The DragonFire system has been successfully proven and we are now closer than ever to having a unique weapon that will enable frontline commands to manage the rapidly evolving threats they face.”.

Mark Hamilton, managing director Electronics UK, Leonardo said: “The UK DragonFire consortium is a great example of how a partnership approach between UK companies can be successfully applied to a key national research and technology challenge. For its commitment to the project, Leonardo can draw on decades of laser technology, part of its legacy at the Edinburgh headquarters. Leonardo's beam steering technology offers the ultimate in long-range tracking/pointing precision and stability, while managing the high-power laser energy passing through it. We are pleased to have successfully tested the system against a representative aerial target under varying range, altitude and speed conditions, supporting the first British High Energy Laser (HEL) firing against aerial targets in the reference context.”

Steve Wadey, group chief executive, QinetiQ said: “The achievement of the UK's first high-powered firing of a laser weapon against aerial targets at the Ministry of Defense range in the Hebrides, operated by QinetiQ, represents a significant milestone. Our world-leading science and technology capabilities have been applied to the continued development of our advanced coherent beam combining technology, which is enabling better performance and scalability. I am proud of the critical role we are playing in collaborating with industry partners and the Dstl to support the development, testing and evaluation of this sovereign capability.”.