UK Dragonfire laser weapon demonstrator completes first high-power firings

by Richard Scott

Leonardo developed the LDEW beam director as part of the UK Dragonfire consortium. (Richard Scott/NAVYPIX)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has completed the first trials of a high-powered, long-range Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) testbed at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory's (Dstl's) Porton Down range in Southern England.

Conducted in October, the trials involved firing the DragonFire LDEW capability demonstrator at several target sets. Led by MBDA UK, the UK Dragonfire consortium includes Leonardo and QinetiQ as key technology suppliers.

The sovereign LDEW capability demonstrator programme has been established to improve the MoD's understanding of how high-energy lasers and their associated technologies can defeat representative air and surface targets at operationally relevant ranges, and in different operating environments. According to Dstl, the need to generate high levels of laser power and the ability to focus the beam with sufficient accuracy, are two important areas that need to be demonstrated to provide confidence in the performance and viability of LDEW systems. Other considerations include management of power and cooling demands over a prolonged period, and effects management/safety aspects.


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JMSDF demonstrates enhanced BMD capabilities with first SM-3 Block IIA firing

by Ridzwan Rahmat

JS Maya , seen here firing the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor against a ballistic target in waters near Hawaii on 16 November 2022. (JMSDF)

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has demonstrated its ability to engage in enhanced co-operative ballistic missile defence (BMD) operations by test-firing two sea-based variants of the SM-3 interceptor.

The firings were carried out by the Maya-class destroyers, JS Maya and JS Haguro, in waters near Hawaii on 16 and 19 November, respectively, the service disclosed in a statement on 21 November.

Maya deployed an SM-3 Block IIA interceptor while Haguro launched the Block IB variant of the same weapon. Both firings were supported by the US Navy (USN) and the US Missile Defense Agency, the JMSDF statement added.

The SM-3 is a family of interceptors that has been developed by Raytheon to destroy short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The weapon system utilises its own kinetic energy instead of an explosive warhead to destroy targets as part of its ‘hit-to-kill' method.


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Iran unveils longer-range SAM

by Jeremy Binnie

The missile labelled as a Sayyad 4B in the unveiling ceremony looked like the original Sayyad-4 but different from the SAM shown in the Sayyad 4B test. (defapress.ir)

The Iranian military unveiled the longer-range Sayyad 4B surface-to-air missile (SAM) for its Bavar-373 air-defence system on 6 November.

The missile was unveiled during a ceremony attended by Minister of Defence Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and Islamic Republic of Iran Air Defense Force (IRIADF) Commander Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard.

The Iranian media reported that the missile has successfully engaged a target at more than 300 km during a test, up from the 200 km earlier achieved. It was also reported that the missile's maximum altitude has been increased from 27 to 32 km.

The Bavar-373 radars have also been improved, and during the test detected the target at a distance of 450 km, up from 350 km, and tracked it at 405 km, up from 260 km.

The Tasnim News Agency quoted Brig Gen Sabahifard as saying that the target drone was destroyed at an altitude of 40,000 ft (12.2 km).


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Indo Defence 2022: Rheinmetall offers local production of Skyranger GBAD system for Indonesia

by Ridzwan Rahmat

A Badak fire support vehicle, seen here with a mock-up of the Skyranger 30 turret, at Indo Defence 2022. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

Rheinmetall Air Defence AG has indicated that it will be able to produce units of the Oerlikon Skyranger mobile ground-based air defence (GBAD) system in-country should it be selected for the Indonesian armed forces anti-air requirements.

Stefan Schadler and Gerson Jaklin, who are the vice-president for Sales and vice-president for Marketing and Sales, respectively, at Rheinmetall's Air Defence and Radar Systems, confirmed to Janes that the company has established a partnership with local company PT OCWSB Pratama Indonesia.

Under the partnership, OCWSB has been appointed as an authorised local partner of Rheinmetall Air Defence, and it is cleared to undertake maintenance, repair, and overhaul work on various weapon systems that have been supplied by the company to Indonesia.

These include the Oerlikon Skyshield Air Defence System, which is in service with the Indonesian Air Force's rapid action command, and the Oerlikon Millennium Gun, which is found on the Indonesian Navy's Martadinata class.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/weapons-headlines/latest/uk-dragonfire-laser-weapon-demonstrator-completes-first-high-power-firings

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has completed the first trials of a high-powered, long-range Laser ...

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