Ministry of Defence
MOD to develop cutting-edge laser and radio frequency weapons
The Ministry of Defence is developing cutting-edge laser and radio frequency weapons which have the potential to revolutionise the battlefield.
The state-of-the-art weapons systems, known as Directed Energy Weapons (DEW), are powered solely by electricity and operate without ammunition.
The systems could be fuelled by a vehicle’s engine or a generator, significantly reducing their operating costs and providing unprecedented flexibility on the frontline.
In a Prior Information Notice (PIN) published this week, the MOD announced it is seeking to develop three new DEW demonstrators to explore the potential of the technology and accelerate its introduction onto the battlefield.
The laser weapons systems deploy high energy light beams to target and destroy enemy drones and missiles. Radio Frequency weapons are designed to disrupt and disable enemy computers and electronics.
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt yesterday said:
Laser and Radio Frequency technologies have the potential to revolutionise the battlefield by offering powerful and cost-effective weapons systems to our Armed Forces.
This significant investment demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our Armed Forces operate at the forefront of military technology.
Computer Generated Image illustrating the use of DEW on a Wildcat helicopter.
The new systems are expected to be trialled in 2023 on Royal Navy ships and Army vehicles but, once developed, both technologies could be operated by all three services. The Armed Forces will use these exercises to get a better understanding of DEW, test the systems to their limits and assess how they could be integrated with existing platforms.
The MOD aims to invest up to £130m in this package of Directed Energy Weapons, including the construction of the demonstrators, the creation of a new Joint Programme Office and the recruitment of personnel to manage the programme.
These demonstrators are part of the MOD’s “Novel Weapons Programme” which is responsible for the trial and implementation of innovative weapons systems to ensure the UK remains a world leader in military technology. They are expected to reach the frontline within 10 years.
The MOD already has plans for initial trials of laser weapons systems, with the Dragonfire demonstrator commissioned by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to be tested later this year.
The Dragonfire represents a world-first in laser weapons technology, combining multiple laser beams to produce a weapons system that is more powerful than its predecessors and resistant to the most challenging environmental conditions.
The MOD also has over 30 years’ experience in Radio Frequency DEW, during which time the UK has become a world leader in developing new power generation technologies and a global hub for the performance testing and evaluation of these systems.
Latest News from
Ministry of Defence
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace discusses European and wider security challenges with German counterpart17/01/2020 15:10:00
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer discuss European and wider international security.
Revolutionary Artificial Intelligence warship contracts announced15/01/2020 10:15:00
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has announced the first wave of £4 million funding.
Cybersecurity in aviation: a regulator's perspective13/01/2020 12:15:00
To counter threats of cyber-attack on military systems, the MAA is equipping the Regulated Community with cybersecurity regulation to protect critical systems.
MoD lit in rainbow colours to celebrate LGB personnel10/01/2020 16:33:00
To mark 20 years since the landmark ruling allowing military personnel to serve as openly lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB), buildings across Defence have been lit in celebration.
Defence leaders to join forces at 2020 Space Conference10/01/2020 15:15:15
Leaders from government, industry and academia will join forces at the Defence Space 2020 conference in London on 20-21 May.
Gareth Wilson awarded Queen's Police Medal in New Year Honours09/01/2020 13:15:00
MDP Deputy Chief Constable, Gareth Wilson, lately Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary, has been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for ‘Distinguished Service’ in the New Year Honours.
Defence Secretary Oral Statement: Update on security situation in the Middle East08/01/2020 10:15:00
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace yesterday detailed the UK's response to events in Iraq.
Ministry of Defence donates 14000 meals to UK charities24/12/2019 12:15:00
The donation to FareShare is part of the MOD’s commitment to reducing waste as well as supporting community groups across the country