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MBDA Deutschland develops lasers for infantry and UGVs

MBDA Deutschland is developing the MILOS-P laser for infantry and for installation on an unmanned ground vehicle. (MBDA)

MBDA Deutschland is developing the Modular Integrated Laser Optic System (MILOS) for the German Army, the company's head of laser solutions, Doris Laarmann, told international journalists including Janes visiting her company on 27 October.

The system was tested during a campaign at the Bundeswehr's Wehrtechnische Dienststelle für Waffen und Munition (WTD) 91 weapon and ammunition technical centre in Meppen in 2022 against door knobs, wire mesh fence, barbed wire, metal plates, and quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at ranges between 25 m and 420 m with a power of up to 3 kW, although up to 10 kW is possible, according to MBDA Deutschland officials.

Laarmann said work was concentrating on a dismounted version of the system, the medium-range 5 kW MILOS-D, which could also be mounted on an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) and which she expected to become operational starting in 2027.

She envisioned MILOS-D as part of an entire family of laser effectors: the short-range 1.5 kW MILOS-P (portable), a 20 kW long-range remote/integrated version, and a 60 kW integrated version that could be mounted on a vehicle.

Laarmann described a laser engagement chain starting with radar-based detection, pre-classification, and multistage coarse and fine tracking with active illumination of a target like a UAV, feeding the target data into a command-and-control system, target assignment to a laser effector, and finally engagement, followed by kill assessment. Multistage active illumination allows tracking of low-signature targets, according to Laarmann, who said the length of a three-second engagement aiming the laser beam at the same spot on the target could be reduced.

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