Rheinmetall announced on 23 November that it shot down a low-altitude unmanned air vehicle (UAV) with a 10kW-class laser integrated with an air defence system.

The event marked the second time Rheinmetall has used a laser weapon demonstrator to shoot down a small UAV, and the first when combined with a full air defence system, the German company said.

The UAV was detected and tracked with the Oerlikon Skyguard fire control system, which is also used to pick up rockets and mortars. The 10kW laser was mounted on a Skyshield gun turret, and the beam destroyed the aircraft "in a matter of seconds", Rheinmetall said.

Meanwhile, Rheinmetall has revealed it expects a 100kW-class laser to become available in three to five years, allowing a directed energy weapon to destroy bigger targets at longer range.

Source: Flight International