Powerful laser weapon on Royal Navy warship by 2027

It might sound impossible but the UK will very soon have lasers that shoot down missiles and drones at the speed of light.

A powerful laser weapon will be added to the Royal Navy’s arsenal in the next three years as the need for weapons to counter drone and missile threats grows.

The cutting-edge DragonFire laser will be installed on a warship in 2027, adding to the Royal Navy’s potent array of air defence weaponry, which includes the Sea Viper and Sea Ceptor missile systems which have recently shot down Houthi targets in operations in the Red Sea with HMS Diamond and HMS Richmond.

A burst of the high-intensity beam from DragonFire costs no more than £10 – yet can engage targets – drones, missiles, aircraft – at the speed of light by concentrating it on a target.

“Able to fire at any target visible in the air at around £10 a shot and with an accuracy equivalent to hitting a pound coin from a kilometre away, the powerful DragonFire weapon will provide highly effective defence against drone and missile threats,” said the UK ministry of defence.

The laser has been under development for nearly a decade and underwent tests by government scientists on the Ministry of Defence’s ranges in the Hebrides at the start of this year.

Now, plans have been brought forward five years from 2032 to install DragonFire on a Royal Navy ship under new procurement rules which were introduced last week.

UK Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps said: “DragonFire shows the best of the UK at the forefront of military technology, and we will not delay in getting it in the hands of our military to face down the threats we’re facing.”