Raytheon Unveils Laser Equipped, Drone Destroying Dune Buggy

If you need a means of shooting down lightweight drones favored by terrorist groups, a laser may be one of the first things that come to mind, while a dune buggy probably isn’t. A new system developed by Raytheon resembles an interesting combination of the two, and with it comes some impressive defensive capabilities.

Raytheon targeted and disabled a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle using its High Energy Laser Weapon System onboard a Polaris MRZR in New Mexico last week

Image Source: Raytheon

Designed To Destroy Terrorist Drones

Displayed at the Association of the United States Army Exposition in Washington D.C., Raytheon’s new high-energy laser (HEL) system has been adapted from the company’s existing Multi-spectral Targeting System (MTS) and combined with a Polaris MRZR. The system has been specifically designed to destroy the types of drones that are most commonly in use as terrorists weapons. These include Class 1 drones that weigh under 20 pounds and Class 2 drones that weigh between 20 and 55 pounds.

Tracking Dynamic Motion Targets

The MTS system equipped on the Polaris MRZR is able to automatically detect and aim at both types of drones, accounting for their dynamic motion. Once the target has been tracked, a human operator would then verify the target and fire. A variation of this system has been incorporated onto an Apache 64 attack helicopter, but the latest incorporation onto a dune buggy like vehicle allows for speedy ground operation and the use of a power generator—which works around common limitations associated with battery powered systems. The system can also be easily transported aboard cargo aircraft.

Raytheons sophisticated MTS sensor package combined with a high-energy laser and mounted on the MRZR vehicle could offer an effective defense against UAVs

Image Source: Raytheon

Enough To Provide An Effective Edge

The system isn’t as powerful as other drone destroying weapons that have recently been developed, but it’s designed to provide an effective edge when targeting small but dangerous weapons that can easily pose a threat to airports and military bases at home and in international combat zones. After a successful demonstration of the current version at New Mexico Tech’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center in Socorro, the U.S. Army is set to perform its own trials of the system later this year.

Will it prove to be a viable option for shooting down enemy drones? Comment and tell us what you think of this story.

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James Spader

Comes from a long line of American manufacturers and small business owners. His passions have always been journalism and World War II history. When not working, he enjoys cooking and competing in amateur chess tournaments.

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