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Rheinmetall Forges Ahead with Laser Weapons Technology

New Weapon Station Successfully Tested

Rheinmetall continues to make headway in the laser weapons domain and has recently completed a successful series of comprehensive trials with a new weapon station, the company announced on 28 February. The test combined the weapon station with a beam director and high-performance Rheinmetall lasers.

Capable of mounting a laser in the 100 kW output power range, the weapon station demonstrated its speed and precision in tests conducted in December 2018. During the tests, conducted in Switzerland at the company’s Ochsenboden test centre near Zürich, drones and mortar rounds were successfully engaged at operationally relevant ranges.

The laser weapon station is the latest stage in – and the logical continuation of – the process in which Rheinmetall has transformed laser weapon technology into a fully functional weapon system. It consists of four main components: the laser source, a beam director with the telescope and a tracker. It is also designed to be combined with a soon-to-be-available 20 kW laser source, also developed by Rheinmetall.

The mobile weapon station mechanically aims the laser toward the target. Now that a weapon station specifically designed to meet the requirements of a laser weapon station has been successfully tested, Rheinmetall has all the principal assemblies for a future laser weapon system at its own disposal.

Equally suitable for ground, air and naval operations, these assemblies are modular and scalable in design and can be deployed, regardless of the threat situation, on military platforms of all types.

Among the laser weapon station’s performance parameters are its extremely accurate mechanical aiming function, coupled with an unlimited, 360° traversing zone and an elevation range in excess of 270°. The system architecture (EN DIN 61508) is closely oriented to the MANTIS air defence system now in service with the Bundeswehr, and thus also offers interfaces for connecting it to higher-echelon air defence systems.

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