“Raytheon’s powerful anti-drone laser”

“Frying these drones would be a pair of High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS), made by Raytheon. One was mounted on the back of a Polaris MRZR, a military grade dune buggy. The MRZR still had the two front seats, and in the back sat the power supply and targeting system for the HELWS. Next to the buggy-mounted laser weapon was an identical system, only this one was on the bed of a large truck. In the field, HELWS is designed to be battery powered, but for today each was running off a portable generator, burning gasoline.

A relatively small amount of fuel would power the two lasers in use that day for the whole of their operations. By the end of the day, 10 DJI Phantom 4s would lie, collected, in various states of destruction. At roughly $3,000 apiece, depending on the model, that’s $30,000 in drones destroyed for roughly what it takes to fill up a small car.

This cost disparity, between cheap drones and even cheaper laser takedowns, is an explicit reason for developing laser weapons. Current means of destroying drones in the field can risk overkill, and come with various drawbacks.

“It has to be a cost-effective solution for soldiers to be able to use it,” said Annabel Flores, chief operating officer of Global Spectrum Dominance at Raytheon Intelligence and Space. “It makes no sense to shoot something that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars or a million-dollar missile into something that’s a thousand dollars.””

Comment: This looks like a good deal. pl

What it’s like to fire Raytheon’s powerful anti-drone laser (msn.com)

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4 Responses to “Raytheon’s powerful anti-drone laser”

  1. TTG says:

    I would think a bunch of these could be cranked out fairly quickly. They use a lot of existing parts. They have limitations, but combine them with batteries of IRIS-T, NASAMS, Gepards, various shoulder fired weapons and continued training in small arms air defense and they will have a fairly solid A2/AD capability. Ukrainian MOD says they need something more to defend against the Iranian SRBMs that are supposedly on the way.

    • borko says:

      Ukraine is a big country, they need many of these systems.
      Why did Germany supply them with only 20 Gepards ?

      Belgium and Netherlands alone have some 150 units in storage.

      • TTG says:


        A lot of Western governments, especially Germany, are tying themselves in knots over supplying Ukraine with weaponry. The only reasonable excuse for not supplying weapons in storage, like the Gepards, would be logistical concerns. We have a lot of M1 Abrams tanks in storage in Germany. The problem with giving them to Ukraine is that they come with a massive logistical tail. But I think the main reason these governments are not being more forthcoming in supplying these weapons is political. They’re still worried about provoking Putin. At this point, I think that’s the only reason we haven’t given the ATACMS to Ukraine.

  2. Leith says:

    Ukraine seems to be doing quite well against the IRGC drones so far. That may change in the future if the new shipments from Tehran are big enough to allow massive swarming attacks. Although I think the bigger danger to Ukraine would be Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar SRBMs. Accuracy ion those systems is high precision, estimated at anywhere from three to five meters CEP, much better then Russian SRBMs. The only defenses that Ukraine has against those are her aging and limited number of S300 SAMs. Or possibly they can jam the SatNav system the missile guidance uses?




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