Rheinmetall has invested considerable funding in the design and development of high-energy lasers (HEL) for battlefield applications. Here at IDEX the company is showing a system integrated onto the ARTEC Boxer (8x8) multi-role armoured vehicle (MRAV).
During trials carried out in Switzerland in front of a number of high-ranking overseas delegations, Rheinmetall (Stand 09-A10) showed its HEL integrated onto three land platforms. In addition to the Boxer MRAV, the other two platforms comprised a RUAG Defence M113 fully tracked armoured personnel carrier and a Tatra (8x8) protected cross-country truck. During the demonstration in Switzerland, the Boxer HEL neutralised an oversized heavy machine gun mounted on a pick-up truck.
Currently the Boxer is configured for a 5kW or 10kW laser, which are identical with regard to mass and volume. Here at IDEX it is fitted with a 5kW HEL effector and is referred to as the Mobile HEL Effector Wheel XX. This features a special HEL effector module that takes full advantage of Rheinmetall’s proprietary knowhow, which is based on beam superimposing technology.
Known as the Mobile HEL Effector Track V, the RUAG M113 has been fitted with a 1kW HEL effector that has been successfully demonstrated in the remote explosive ordnance role.
The third application is the Tatra (8x8) vehicle fitted with a containerised 20kW HEL effector and this is referred to as the Mobile HEL Effector Container L. The Roman numerals V, XX and L correspond to the laser categories of 5kW, 20kW and 50kW.
Rheinmetall Air Defence has also fitted and tested its Skyshield air defence system with the 35mm cannon replaced by an HEL. During the demonstration in Switzerland, the Skyshield HEL effector enabled the successful engagement of a series of incoming generic mortar rounds.
According to Rheinmetall, the engagement range of this technology demonstrator is 3,000m, an increase of 1,000m over that achieved in earlier HEL demonstrations.