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DragonFire: UK tests a laser weapon that can hit a coin from a kilometer and costs just Rs 1,000 for a single fire

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The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has conducted successful tests of its first-ever laser weapon, named “DragonFire”. The high-powered laser is designed to target and neutralize drones, offering a potentially low-cost alternative to traditional missiles. The tests, conducted in January at the Herbrides Range in Scotland, demonstrated the weapon’s precision, with the ability to hit a coin from a kilometer away.

Cost-effective Alternative to Missiles
The DragonFire laser weapon is expected to significantly reduce the reliance on expensive ammunition, offering a cost-effective solution for air defense. According to the UK government, firing the laser for just 10 seconds costs the equivalent of using a heater for an hour, typically less than £10 per shot. This cost efficiency makes it a promising option for military operations.

Future Deployment and Capabilities
DragonFire will be utilized by both the Army and the Royal Navy, enhancing their air defense capabilities. While the UK’s defence ministry has not disclosed the weapon’s maximum range, it has confirmed its capability to engage with any visible target. This advancement marks a significant step forward in the development and deployment of directed energy weapons.

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Technology Demonstrator for Future Developments
Despite its success, DragonFire will not be immediately deployed as a standard weapon. Instead, it will serve as a technology demonstrator to gather data for the development of a second-generation weapon system. This future system will aim to replace overseas-built components with British versions, further advancing the UK’s military technology and capabilities.International Significance
The development of laser weapons is of international interest, with countries like the US, Germany, and Israel also exploring similar technologies. As drones become increasingly prevalent in modern warfare, laser weapons offer a promising solution for defense against these threats. The successful testing of DragonFire represents a significant milestone in the UK’s defence capabilities and its contribution to modern military technology.

The UK defence ministry has not revealed the weapon’s maximum range, but the military said it can “engage with any visible target”.

“These trials have seen us take a huge step forward in realising the potential opportunities and understanding the threats posed by directed energy weapons,” The Independent quoted Paul Hollinshead, chief of the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, as saying.

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