Rheinmetall headquarters in Düsseldorf: Order from the Bundeswehr worth millions
Photo: Caroline Seidel / DPA
The armaments company Rheinmetall is getting closer to building laser weapons for the military.
The German Armed Forces procurement office has commissioned the production of a laser source demonstrator for a low double-digit million euro amount, the Düsseldorf-based company announced.
Rheinmetall's laser development department is located in Unterlüß in Lower Saxony.
According to Rheinmetall, the output power of the demonstrator that has now been commissioned will be up to 20 kilowatts.
In a first project, the demonstrator is to be tested for one year on the naval frigate Saxony.
The use on land could follow later.
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Laser weapons are considered to have great military potential.
States such as the USA, China, Great Britain, Turkey and India are also relying on their development.
However, according to military experts, it will be a long time before such weapons can be used in regular service.
The energy requirement is very high, which is less of a problem on a ship than with mobile units on land because of a powerful engine.
In addition, so-called tracking is demanding: the beam - consisting of photons, i.e. light - has to stay exactly at the same point on a surface so that it heats up and melts quickly.
Rheinmetall has been working on laser weapons for a long time; the cooperation partner is the German subsidiary of the armaments group MBDA.
There was already a test in the Baltic Sea in 2015, and another successful test followed in 2018, according to Rheinmetall.
Now it is to come to the longest and most complex test phase of a laser weapon on a German naval ship.
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fdi / dpa