Rheinmetall Gives Them HEL

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Rheinmetall demonstrated its high-energy laser (HEL) effectors to an international audience of potential customers on 22-24 October at its Ochsenboden test range in Switzerland.

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HEL Effector Air Defense

In the middle of a golf course with the backdrop of the Swiss Alps, HEL platforms went through their paces destroying and disabling various targets including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in flight, the highlight of the demonstration.

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Mobile HEL Effector Track V

The Oct. 24 demonstration began with a 30 kW laser weapon station consisting of three 10 kW HEL laser effectors mounted in the same turret used for the Bundeswehr's MANTIS counter-rocket, artillery, mortar and missile (C-RAMM) system, with tracking performed by a Skyguard 3 sensor unit, destroying an 82 mm mortar round in a static demonstration and four out of five 82 mm steel balls fired by a pressurized mortar in a dynamic demonstration.

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Mobile HEL Effector Container L

It was then the turn of a 1 KW HEL effector mounted in an M113 armored personnel carrier to destroy improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance at a range below 300 meters and to cut through barbed wire 80 meters away.

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Mobile HEL Effector Wheel XX

This was followed by a 20 kW laser consisting of two 10 kW HEL laser effectors mounted in a container carried by an 8 x 8 Tatra truck demonstrating its anti-infrastructure capabilities by cutting an electricity pole, thus interrupting the power supply to a radar. The containerized system also destroyed boxes of ammunition.

The afternoon began with a 5 kW/10 kW mobile HEL effector mounted in a GTK Boxer wheeled armored transport vehicle setting jerry cans full of fuel on fire. It then went on to dazzle an eight-rotor vertical takeoff UAV, albeit carrying a steel ball so it could be detected by Skyguard 3. Finally, the wheeled HEL effector engaged a technical - a pickup truck mounting a heavy machine gun - by burning through the cartridge of its ammunition belt, rendering it unusable.

The day ended with the same 30 kW HEL effector that began the day shooting down three JT-240 jet UAVs in quick succession.

Photos by Nicholas Fiorenza

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