Since it has advanced so much in recent years, laser technology is currently causing a stir in the field of military capabilities. The German Navy has successfully finished a year-long trial of a 20-kW MBDA Deutschland/Rheinmetall Laser Weapon Demonstrator in realistic marine environments. This accomplishment illustrates a significant advancement in laser weaponry and its potential to transform contemporary combat.
The experiments were conducted on board the massive 5,800-ton frigate Sachsen. The experiments were carried out by the High-Energy Laser Naval Demonstrator Working Group (ARGE), which was composed of MBDA Deutschland and Rheinmetall, and were organized by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw).
In June 2022, a modular laser weapon system was installed and integrated into the Sachsen’s command and control system. This innovative weapon comprises 12 2-kW laser modules based on coiled bundles of solid-state doped fiber, generating high-quality laser beams. These beams are combined using spectral coupling technology, forming a single, highly potent beam scalable up to an impressive 100 kW.
Throughout the past year, the German Navy conducted six campaigns, utilizing the laser system against various targets, including agile entities. The weapon was successful in engaging and neutralizing these targets, demonstrating its potential to counter drones, drone swarms, speedboats, and missiles at very short ranges. Future upgrades are expected to enhance its capabilities further, enabling the system to tackle supersonic missiles, rockets, and mortar or artillery rounds.
The laser fired over a hundred times during the trials, culminating in exceptional performances on two VIP days, witnessed by a collection of German and NATO dignitaries. The success of these trials marks a significant leap forward in military technology, paving the way for a more sophisticated and versatile defense system for naval operations. The German Navy’s progress in laser weaponry underscores the evolving landscape of modern warfare and the increasing importance of advanced, efficient defense mechanisms.