Military Embedded Systems

Laser weapon system component in development for the Bundeswehr

News

November 30, 2020

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Laser weapon system component in development for the Bundeswehr
Rheinmetall photo.

GERMANY. Rheinmetall has won a contract to develop a future laser weapon system component. At the end of the second quarter of 2020, the Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) contracted with Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH to fabricate a laser source demonstrator. 

According to the company, the laser source demonstrator is intersectional by design and can be employed in various projects to study the use of laser technology in military applications. The first project for the laser demonstrator will be a year-long trial phase onboard the Germany Navy frigate Sachsen, officials claim.

The laser demonstrator is based on spectral coupling technology, which Rheinmetall claims the company has been investigating for years. Its key performance data include scalable output power of up to 20 kW. The demonstrator consists of 12 nearly identical 2kW fiber laser modules with close to diffraction-limited beam quality. A beam combiner, or a subassembly that turns multiple beams into a single beam by means of dielectric grid technology, couples the 12 fiber laser beams to form a single laser beam.

In 2015, during trials conducted in the Baltic, Rheinmetall engaged targets on land with a functional prototype of a shipboard laser weapon system for the first time in Europe. In 2018, BAAINBw and Rheinmetall tested a laboratory-based 20 kW laser source. 

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