Raytheon UK to bring counter-drone high-energy laser technology to UK Ministry of Defence

London, Sept. 15, 2021 – Raytheon UK has been awarded a demonstrator contract to provide a High-Energy Laser Weapon System, or HELWS, to the UK Ministry of Defence. Raytheon UK will deliver the MOD’s high-energy laser demonstrator to show the application of directed energy weapons technology to help protect the UK armed forces from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in today’s battlefield.

High-energy lasers are moving from the laboratory to the field,” said Alex Rose-Parfitt, engineering director, Raytheon UK. “We are partnering with the MOD to accelerate this developing technology and make it available to the UK military. This demonstrator programme will show how the use of high-energy laser weapons could help protect soldiers against UAVs.”

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A high-energy laser demonstrator will be installed by the Raytheon UK team on one of the MOD’s Wolfhound land vehicles for a period of comprehensive user experimentation. The experimentation provides an opportunity to see how HELWS could enhance UK capabilities and understanding in high-energy laser weapons, supporting UK’s ambitions to remain an as innovative leader science and technology.

HELWS, a modular counter-UAV system, uses an electro-optical/infrared sensor that prosecutes highly-maneuverable threats with precision and relative ease. The system can be installed on a variety of platforms and has been fielded in several real-world environments; it can also be integrated with many modern air defence systems, offering a robust layered defence capability as needed.

 “We are investing £6.6 billion in research and development across Defence over the next four years, reaffirming our commitment to provide the Armed Forces with truly advanced capabilities,” said Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin. “Directed Energy Weapons are a key element of our future equipment programmes and we intend to become a world-leader in the research, manufacture and implementation of this next-generation technology.”

As the programme evolves, Raytheon UK will encourage new capabilities and expertise in the UK supply chain and place the country at the forefront of this emerging technology. The Raytheon UK team is collaborating with other British companies on the demonstrator including Frazer Nash, NP Aerospace, and Lumoptica across the UK, to bring high-energy laser technology to the British Army.

The contract is part of a wider framework by the UK Ministry of Defence to sustain strategic advantage through science and technology

Images courtesy Raytheon UK