'Star Wars' laser weapon blasts drone out of the sky from two …

A laser cannon weapon from the UK has been compared to the Death Star from Star Wars for its impressive ability to blast a drone out of the sky two miles away (3.4 km).

The massive laser directed energy weapon, nicknamed "DragonFire", was built by scientists at Leonardo, QinetiQ, and MBDA.

First launched in 2017, DragonFire was built to strike tiny targets from miles away while anchored to a ship.

And this past week, the weapon proved its power after tests were conducted in Porton Down in Wiltshire.

Sign up for our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Just like the Death Star, the DragonFire's invisible 50kW beam was able to hit a small drone from two miles away.

The tests help the UK understand laser weapon technology better and provide confidence in using laser-directed energy weapons.

The demonstration is a culmination of five years worth of research from hundreds of scientists.

"The laser weapons are something that are brand new, we don't know what their benefits are going to be," Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) partner Ben Maddison said.

"But the sense is that this has the potential to be something that could be absolutely game-changing."

Laser weapons have the potential to change wars because they can strike targets with "pinpoint accuracy" and require no ammunition.

This means the implementation of weapons like DragonFire could provide lower cost lethality when compared to other weapon systems.

"The results from these trials have verified analysis and given the team confidence that DragonFire will offer a near term and unique capability," Chris Allam, UK Managing Director and Executive Group Director of Engineering at MBDA said.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)