Huffpost UK Tech

Weaponised Laser Cannon Can Shoot Drones (And Mortars) Out Of Mid-Air

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A German defense firm has built a laser cannon capable of blasting drones out of the sky.

The high-energy laser can shoot fast-moving drones at distances of more than a mile.

Rheinmetall Defence demonstrated the 50kW weapon and its radar and optical systems, which allowed it to track two drones travelling at 50 metres per second, and destroy them.

It was able to track the drones up to 3km away, according to the website Singularity Hub.

The laser is also able to cut through steel girders more than a mile away.

The system cut through a 15mm steel slab, and also shot a 82mm steel ball out of the air while travelling at 50 metres per second, which was designed to resemble a mortar round.

The company says it has tested the lasers in wind, rain and snow, and added it plans to mount the laser on a TM170 armoured vehicle.

It could also be integrated with a 35mm revolver cannon, making it even more versatile and potentially deadly.

The company said:

"These tests have silenced the sceptics, proving that Rheinmetall's HEL weapon technology demonstrators can neutralize targets even under the most difficult weather conditions, including snow, dazzling sunlight, ice and rain. Furthermore, the tests provide compelling proof that Rheinmetall leads the way."

The weapon isn't exactly unique - the BBC reports that similar systems have been shown own in previous years, including at the Farnborough air show. Governments including Russia, China and the US are said to be developing their own high-powered lasers behind closed doors.

Which, if you think about it, isn't exactly reassuring.