Suitcase-Sized Laser Weapon Takes Down Drones In Australian Army Tests

With the release of the Fractl high-energy portable laser, the Australian Department of Defence has debuted the country’s first laser weapon. This state-of-the-art portable, high-energy system can precisely neutralize drones. AIM Defence developed this innovative system.

The Fractl system is a big surveying laser that weighs less than 110 pounds (50 kilos). The Australian Army tested it recently at the Puckapunyal Military Area in central Victoria. Fractl fought against traditional anti-drone weaponry during the tests. Conventional tactics used a lot of ammo and frequently couldn’t neutralize targets until they were very close. Still, the laser weapon proved incredibly effective at eliminating drones quickly and silently.

Fractl’s can operate on both battery and AC power, offering a range of responses to drone threats. Capable of destroying drones with a beam the size of a 10-cent piece, it can target moving drones at speeds of 60 mph (100 km/h) up to a distance of 3,300 feet (1,000 meters). It can also burn out sensors at 4,900 feet (1,500 meters) and perform other actions like flashing warnings, dazzling sensors, or inflicting light damage. It is a tenth the size and cost of comparable systems.

The laser is easy to control and has precision control, making it possible for operators to target particular portions of a drone easily. “You push a button to track the drone, and the computer takes over, then you push another button to ‘pull the trigger’ just like a video game,” said Corporal Patrick Flanagan.

“With your index finger, you can quickly change your aim between the drone’s video camera, center mass, or one of the propellers. It only takes seconds to knock out the camera and two or three seconds to disable the rotor.”

This precision goes beyond destruction to more targeted attacks like burning explosives or chopping wires, which need less energy than it takes to boil a kettle. Targeting system: able to handle both single and multiple drone attacks; laser aimed to prevent damage to people if they happen to catch a reflection in their eyes.

“Drones come in all shapes and sizes, and you need a variety of tools to defeat the threat,” said Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Eli Lea from the Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office (RICO).

“Shooting small multi-rotor UAS out of the sky is particularly challenging. A directed-energy weapon that can detect, track, and engage those targets is a part of that toolset. The lessons from Ukraine are that drones are a genuine problem, and if we don’t do anything about it, we’re going to get a rude awakening in the next fight.”

Source: Australian Department of Defence

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *