The Ministry of Defence confirmed today that it is spending £30m on a laser cannon proof-of-concept demonstrator, following a challenge to the award of the contract some months ago.
The £30m deal for the Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) demonstrator will go to a consortium led by part-French defence firm MBDA, as reported back in July.
The announcement came alongside the MoD re-announcing its £800m tech creche this morning, with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon making a speech to about 150 MoD civil servants and representatives of industry.
Sources said that the public announcement of the laser cannon contract award had been delayed by a challenge from rival bidders, though this was evidently unsuccessful.
The one-off prototype will be delivered by 2019 and will show “how this techonlogy can be exploited in the future” said the MoD. MBDA will figure out how to get the laser cannon to acquire, track and destroy targets over land and water in different weather conditions. Potential applications include naval warships - and the MoD is also interested in the potential of using lasers as anti-mortar defence systems. ®