April 16, 2024

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released declassified footage of its DragonFire laser weapon. 

DragonFire shoots a high-power beam at the speed of light. It’s so precise, it can fry a target the size of a coin from a kilometre away.

This “never seen before” footage and imagery shows the laser cannon in action at a site in the Hebrides, a remote archipelago off the coast of Scotland. The video also includes CGI footage of the laser weapon zapping military drones out of the sky — one of DragonFire’s potential real life use cases. 

DragonFire is being developed for the MoD by the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, and industry partners including British aerospace firm Leonardo and defence specialists QinetiQ. 

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The laser weapon could offer a low-cost alternative to short-range missiles, which are often more expensive than the targets they’re intended to destroy. This could apply to conflicts such as the current Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, which have largely relied on drone warfare. 

This type of cutting-edge weaponry has the potential to revolutionise the battlespace by reducing the reliance on expensive ammunition, while also lowering the risk of collateral damage,” UK defence minister Grant Shapp said in January. The MoD predicts that firing the DragonFire system will cost just £10 (€11.7) per shot. 

the dragonfire laser weapon