The French Directorate General of Armaments on Wednesday demonstrated the destruction of a drone by laser weapon, a protection system that the Ministry of the Armed Forces hopes to see fully operational during the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The demonstration carried out in Biscarosse (Landes) is a first in Europe for a weapon of this type, it is said in the office of the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, while Israel and especially the United States are at an advanced stage of development of these weapons straight inspired by “Star Wars”.

Designed by the French company CILAS with public funds, the new anti-drone laser system called HELMA-P will have the mission of securing the bases of the French army in external operations, but also sensitive sites in France, such as nuclear power plants, or still large public gatherings.

It is intended as a response to the growing threat posed by light drones sold in commerce and diverted from their use, capable of flying slowly and at low altitude to escape radar and traditional anti-missile or anti-drone shields.

“The objective is for it to be fully operational for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris,”

said Florence Parly’s office. It could also be tested during the Rugby World Cup in 2023 in France.

A sort of case placed on a tripod, the prototype that was used for the demonstration on Wednesday is capable of detecting a small drone up to 3 km away, of following it and of destroying it in flight in a few seconds when it approaches within 1 km from its target.

Its laser beam, a million times more powerful than that used to read a QR code, can “either burn the drone to damage it, or dazzle its camera system to prevent it from evolving.”

“To be at the rendezvous of the fight against drone, you must have an appropriate toolbox”, it is stressed in the office of the Minister of the Armed Forces.

Faced with the risk that drones will escape jamming in the future, and the fear of attacks by swarms of drones, the ministry has also launched a call for tenders for the development of an electromagnetic wave cannon and drones. interceptors whose first tests could take place at the end of 2022.

Source: Reuters / Google Translation

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