At the speed of light: Ukraine can get laser weapons from the UK

According to the Daily Telegraph, the UK is considering the possibility of providing Ukraine with a prototype of the DragonFire laser weapon. This was stated by the Minister of Defense Grant Shapps.

What is DragonFire?

The DragonFire project was first presented to the public in 2017. Its goal is to create long-range laser weapons designed for use both on ships and on land. The main task of DragonFire is the fight against drones. But, according to Shapps, the system is powerful and accurate enough to intercept fast-moving targets like ballistic missiles. It is capable of hitting a one-pound coin from a distance of kilometers.

Destroyed drone by Dragonfire. Source: PA

DragonFire works by using the principle of constructive interference. The weapon focuses 37 channels of 1.5 kW laser beams arranged in a hexagonal array and combines them with mirrors to merge and enhance power. This creates an ideal laser beam that can be fired through a telescopic lens at a target.

Destroyed mortar shell by Dragonfire. Source: PA

The main advantages of DragonFire are the instantaneous destruction of the target — because the laser beam moves at the speed of light. It turns the metal surface into plasma at a temperature of three thousand degrees and is able to burn through the shell in a matter of seconds. In addition, the system is invisible to the human eye and silent, since the length of the radiation emitted by DragonFire lies in the infrared range. Another advantage of such weapons is that they do not need expensive ammunition to be used, which can run out. The cost of one DragonFire shot is only 10 pounds.

When DragonFire may appear in Ukraine

In 2022, DragonFire passed its first tests, during which it successfully shot down several drones and mortar shells. It is reported that DragonFire may be transferred for experiments to army units of the British army in September this year. The ground version of DragonFire will be installed on the truck. After the tests, the experts will give their recommendations on how to improve it.

The first Dragonfire test. Source: PA

At the moment, the UK plans to adopt the first combat lasers in 2027. But, according to Grant Shapps, experts are actively working to ensure that Ukraine gets a prototype of the system even earlier — even if by that time it will not be 100% finalized.

Earlier, we talked about a project to destroy space debris using lasers.

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