Missile maker MBDA is conducting research into the use of lasers to small, slow-flying unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

In a presentation at the company’s chalet, executives showed footage of an experimental laser destroying a quadcopter UAS on a company firing range in Germany. Upon acquiring the target the laser was able to destroy it with a 3.3s laser blast.

They say small UASs are an emergent security threat, noting incidents in which small UASs were able to travel into high security environments. In one incident, an alert bodyguard captured a small UAS that strayed close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Though that UAS was harmless, it is conceivable that terrorists or other criminals could mount small explosive charges on UASs.

Research into laser development is being funded by both the company and the German government.

MBDA believes an operational system could be deployed within a decade, assuming the programme is funded. They note that navies are also interested in the capability, as it would also be useful against small boats.

Such a system would be able to engage targets out to 10-15k.

Source: Flight Daily News