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Breaking News: UK Plans To Test Laser Weapon Mounted on Wolfhound Armored Vehicle.

| Defense News Army 2024

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) plan to conduct test-fired the nation's first high-power laser weapon mounted on the Wolfhound armored vehicle, marking a significant milestone in the realm of defense capabilities. Mounted on the robust Wolfhound 6x6 armored vehicle, this cutting-edge weapon system targeted aerial threats in a demonstration of precision and power.
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The Laser Directed Energy Weapon is mounted at the rear of a British Army Wolfhound 6x6 armored vehicle. (Picture source Raytheon)

The initiative, known as the DragonFire Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) program, is spearheaded by Dstl on behalf of the British MoD (Ministry of Defense), in collaboration with several industry giants. This program harnesses a highly concentrated beam of light to neutralize threats, presenting a cost-effective and efficient alternative to conventional ammunition. With an eye on the future, this technology shows promise in countering hostile unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), offering a sustainable solution for defense operations.

The Wolfhound 6x6 armored vehicle is a heavyweight logistics vehicle used by the British Army, designed to offer both protection and versatility on the battlefield. Part of the Tactical Support Vehicle (TSV) program, the Wolfhound is engineered to provide logistical support to frontline troops, capable of transporting a wide range of cargo under the protection of its armored chassis. It features a high level of blast protection against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), making it a crucial asset in maintaining supply lines and supporting operations in hostile environments. Equipped with a 6x6 wheel drive, the Wolfhound can navigate challenging terrains, ensuring that troops receive the necessary equipment and supplies regardless of location.

Beyond its logistical capabilities, the Wolfhound has been adapted for various roles within the British Army, including serving as a platform for advanced technology systems such as the recently tested high-power laser weapons. Its robust design allows for the integration of sophisticated equipment, making it an ideal candidate for experimental defense projects and enhancing its utility on the modern battlefield. The vehicle's adaptability, combined with its proven reliability and protection, underscores its value to the British Army as a multifunctional asset capable of meeting a wide array of operational demands.

Raytheon UK has emerged as a pivotal contributor to this technological leap, bringing its High-Energy Laser Weapon System to the UK shores. In partnership with a consortium of British suppliers, including Fraser Nash, NP Aerospace, LumOptica, Blighter Surveillance Systems, and Cambridge Pixel, Raytheon's 15-kilowatt laser system integrates into the MoD’s Land Demonstrator program. Currently, the system is undergoing installation on a UK Wolfhound armored vehicle, destined for a period of user experimentation by the MoD.

Stationed in Coventry at NP Aerospace, the system's integration encompasses a radar from Blighter Surveillance Systems and a command-and-control framework developed by Raytheon UK in Harlow. Following drone tracking trials, the system will proceed to DSTL Porton Down for a live-fire system acceptance test, before its deployment with the British Army in September for further experimentation.

Raytheon UK's laser system boasts versatility and portability, capable of being mounted on various platforms and interfacing with other air defense systems based on operational needs. To date, eight high-energy laser weapons have been delivered to the U.S. military, demonstrating efficacy against over 400 targets across 25,000 operational hours.

The successful integration in Coventry and the DragonFire program's live-fire tests underscore the practicality and effectiveness of laser technology in modern defense strategies. This achievement represents the culmination of decades-long aspirations within the defense industry to harness laser-directed energy weapons. The collaborative efforts between the industry and the MoD are paving the way for transitioning this revolutionary technology from laboratory environments to real-world military applications, signaling a new era in defense technology and strategic capabilities.

UK Successfully Tests DragonFire Laser Weapon Mounted on Wolfhound Armored Vehicle Breaking News 925 002
Raytheon UK’s high energy laser weapon system on a load bed of British army Wolfhound 6x6 armored vehicle. (Picture source Raytheon)

Defense News February 2024

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