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Rheinmetall's 50kW high-energy laser weapon successfully passes tests

•, By David Szondy

The series of exercises took place at the German-based group’s Ochsenboden Proving Ground in Switzerland. There the 50 kW laser weapon was tested against a series of targets to show the improvements over last year’s 10 kW version.

Designed for air defense, asymmetric warfare and Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) operations, the Rheinmetall laser isn't a single weapon, but two laser modules mounted on Oerlikon Revolver Gun air defense turrets with additional modules for the power supply. The lasers are combined using Rheinmetall's Beam Superimposing Technology (BST) to focus a 30 kW and a 20 kW laser on the same spot. This gives it the destructive power of a single 50 kW laser. The company says that a future 100 kW laser weapon is entirely feasible. 
The tests set the laser against three different targets. The first was a 15 mm-thick (0.59 in) steel girder that was cut through at a distance of 1,000 meters (3,281 ft). The second was a group of nose-diving target drones flying at 50 meters per second (164 ft/s) that were detected at a range of three kilometers (1.86 mi) and shot down at two kilometers (1.24 mi) within a few seconds.

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