On 9th October 2012, MBDA Germany completed a further major step towards a laser weapon system capable of providing air defence. For the first time, the company’s high-energy laser demonstrator was used to demonstrate the complete deployment sequence in countering rockets, artillery and mortar shells (C-RAM). Using 40 kW of laser power, the laser demonstrator successfully acted on airborne targets at a range of over 2,000 m.
For these tests, MBDA Germany’s laser demonstrator was equipped with a new, improved performance, significantly more compact and lighter optical system which was integrated in a transportable container. During the tests, the illumination and effect laser was pre-targeted using a radar (SPEXER™ 2000) and an IR optronics system (MEOS II) supplied by Cassidian. A multi-stage control system, incorporating an in-house developed image processing system, was used to lock onto the target at close range.
To serve as targets, the MBDA test team used artillery shell models towed in a wide variety of flight paths at an altitude of 1,000 m. Function control and monitoring as well as data recording, security technology and visualisation were all set up within a transportable fire control centre and demonstrated together with the laser during the tests.
The tests were conducted at the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Techology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) WTD 52 test site in Oberjettenberg, Germany. The excellent results achieved this year by MBDA Germany are a continuation of the series of successful laser tests carried out in 2010 and 2011.
“Having already successfully boosted laser power to 40 kW in the first half of this year, we were able to take the next major step on the road toward a high-energy laser weapon system for close-in defence. In so doing, we have further extended our leading role in Europe in the area of laser applications for military use” stated Peter Heilmeier, Market and Business Development Director at MBDA Germany.
Over 50 guests, including representatives from the German Ministry of Defence, the Bundeswehr, the BAAINBw, the European Defence Agency, the Federal Criminal Police Office, the GSG 9 unit of the Federal Police Force and various institutions and businesses, were present to witness the successful results.
“I’m pleased that our progress is receiving so much attention from the customer as well as from others in the sector. With the flexible application possibilities of laser technology, we are not only addressing all armed services, but also attracting interest from outside the Bundeswehr,” noted Dr. W. Stammler, MBDA Germany’s Director of Operations. “Now we want to optimise the system step by step, increase its power while making it more compact and demonstrate its various system applications.”
With industrial facilities in five European countries and within the USA, in 2011 MBDA achieved a turnover of 3 billion euros with an order book of 10.5 billion euros. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems. MBDA is jointly held by BAE Systems (37.5%), EADS (37.5%) and Finmeccanica (25%).