Raytheon to develop DEW laser weapon for British Minisitry of Defence

The British Defence Ministry announced at DSEI 2021 that it had awarded contracts for the development and demonstration of experimental directed-energy weapon (DEW) systems, Israel Defense reports. The contracts awarded to consortia led by Raytheon UK and Thales UK are collectively valued at 72.5 million British pounds ($100 million). The systems, which are part of the ministry's weapons program, will be integrated onto existing platforms for experimentation from 2023.
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A computer-generated image of what a Wolfhound laser-based C-UAV system could look like. (Source: Raytheon UK)

Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin, who announced the contracts at the DSEI 2021 exhibition, said DEW systems constitute "a key element of our future equipment programmes" and that the UK seeks "to become a world leader in the research, manufacture, and implementation of this next-generation technology."

Raytheon UK, together with NP Aerospace, Frazier Nash Consultants, and Raytheon Technologies, will supply a vehicle-based laser DEW (LDEW) demonstrator for up to six months of user experimentation led by the British Army, Israel Defence reports. The system is to be installed on a Wolfhound armored vehicle (a variant of the 6x6 Mastiff), with experimentation planned for 2023. User experimentation will address the effects on unmanned aerial vehicles and land-based targets.