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The UK Prepares for Combat Experiment, Plans Transfer of DragonFire Laser Weapon to Ukraine

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DragonFire laser weapon / Photo credit: MoD UK
DragonFire laser weapon / Photo credit: MoD UK

London's decision to deploy DragonFire laser weapon aims not only to bolster Ukraine's air defense systems, but also to address three other critically important tasks

The UK is prepared for a truly unexpected but highly necessary step - to hand over prototypes of the DragonFire combat laser system to Ukraine, which is already undergoing successful testing and destroying targets.

Despite the fact that in the British military itself, they plan to deploy it no earlier than 2027, the head of the country's defense department, Grant Shapps, stated that efforts are underway to send prototypes of the system earlier.

Read more: ​The Royal Navy Is Going to Install Powerful Air Defense Laser System on its Warships by 2027

The Telegraph reported the information.

"Right now, there is a real conflict happening in Europe, for which we have unique modern weapons that could prove useful. Let's say it doesn't necessarily have to be 100% perfect for Ukrainians to possibly get it," Shapps said.

According to him, delays in the deployment of new weapons technologies are "the biggest waste of money in defense."

"What I want to do is speed up what would usually be a very lengthy process, possibly up to 10 years, down to a much shorter timeframe and get it deployed, potentially on ships and potentially on land," the minister said.

At the same time, the desire to send the first samples of DragonFire for real combat experimentation, despite any public arguments, still goes beyond altruism. Because it's a pragmatic decision.

Firstly, sending DragonFire to Ukraine will indeed allow for its testing not in the "controlled environment" of a range but in an actual battlefield, against real threats.

Secondly, it will demonstrate the real combat effectiveness of the system against actual modern threats.

Thirdly, it will indeed assist Ukraine. Because we are talking about a system that uses a 55 kW laser beam, focused from 37 separate channels with a power of 1.5 kW each. Such power can already be considered standard for such systems, as it allows for the burning of not only plastic but also metal, thereby disabling drones, missiles, and potentially artillery ammunition.

DragonFire laser weapon, Defense Express
DragonFire laser weapon / Photo credit: MoD UK

"DragonFire travels at the speed of light and its range is still classified. It instantly turns the surface of metal into a 3,000C plasma and can burn through sheet metal, fuselage and weapons in seconds," as The Telegraph reported.

The weapon is invisible and silent as the wavelength of the light is about one micron, which can not be seen by human eyes and is close to the infrared spectrum of light. An important feature of the laser weapon is its low cost - one shot costs 10 pounds. By comparison, the cost of modern anti-aircraft missiles can range up to several million dollars per unit.

Additionally, there is the question of whether such a laser system can fend off a mass attack when multiple targets are approaching simultaneously.

DragonFire laser weapon, Defense Express
DragonFire laser weapon / Photo credit: MoD UK

Sending prototypes of DragonFire to Ukraine will not only strengthen our air defense systems but also dispel any doubts about the effectiveness of combat lasers, accelerate development, and secure orders for this system.

Read more: First Ukrainian Pilots Who Trained on F-16s Graduate From Royal Air Force Flight Training, the UK Ministry of Defense Posts Photos