Hanwha from South Korea Unveils Advanced Laser Weapon Systems at ADEX 2023

Seoul, South Korea, October 30, 2023 - Hanwha Aerospace, a South Korean defense company, showcases its latest air defense innovation, the Block-I laser weapon system, at the Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 in South Korea. This cutting-edge technology can be mounted on various platforms, including containers, light vehicles, and heavy trucks, offering versatility in deployment.
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Scale model of Hanwha truck-mounted laser weapon system at ADEX 2023, Aerospace and Defense Exhibition in Seoul, South Korea. (Picture source Army Recognition)

While Hanwha has remained tight-lipped about the exact power of the laser weapon, it is clear that the truck-mounted version will pack a more significant punch. The Block-I system, whose development commenced in September 2019, is designed primarily to detect, track, and neutralize small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). With its 20 kW laser, it can effectively engage these threats at a close range of up to 3 km.

The development of this static system is on track for completion by 2023. Once operational, it is anticipated that the Republic of Korea Army's air-defense units will adopt the Block-I to safeguard strategic assets.

A unique feature of Block-1 is its use of light sources generated from optical fibers. The Agency for Defense Development (ADD) has pioneered an optical fiber laser generation technology. This innovative approach employs wavelength control beam coupling, which reduces the distribution of multiple laser lights with varying wavelengths through refraction, merging them into a singular, potent beam.

Designed to counter quadrotor drones or fixed-wing unmanned aircraft within a three-kilometer radius, the Block-1 is a testament to Hanwha's commitment to advancing short-range air defense capabilities. But the company's vision doesn't stop there. Plans are already in motion to develop the Block-2, a mobile version with an impressive 30-kilowatt output, slated for release before 2030. Furthermore, Block-3, boasting a staggering 100-kilowatt output and a range of 20 km, is in the pipeline. This formidable system will be capable of intercepting missiles and is designed for mounting on both warships and military aircraft.

Laser Weapons on the Modern Battlefield

Laser weapons, once the stuff of science fiction, are rapidly becoming a reality on today's battlefields. Their precision, speed of light delivery, and ability to engage multiple targets make them invaluable assets in modern warfare. As threats from drones and UAVs increase, laser systems like the Block-I offer a solution that is both efficient and cost-effective.

Moreover, as nations around the world invest in research and development, the capabilities of laser weapons continue to expand. From neutralizing UAVs to intercepting missiles, these systems are set to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of military engagements.

In conclusion, Hanwha Aerospace's unveiling at ADEX 2023 is a clear indication of the direction in which modern warfare is headed. As laser technology continues to evolve, it promises to redefine defense strategies and ensure that armed forces are equipped to face the challenges of tomorrow.

Defense News October 2023