Australia Tests Laser Weapon Against UAV

Australia Tests Laser Weapon Against UAV

Australia’s first directed energy weapon, Fractl, has destroyed a target UAV 500 m away in a hard-kill test. Australian MoD stated in its press release that the weapon can perform both hard-kill and soft-kill at one km and a half further ranges, respectively. Fractl is somewhat distinct with its tripod-based layout compared to most other laser weapons, which are vehicle-mounted for power requirements. While this poses a challenge in power supply, the tripod also means easier deployment for infantry. For example, a squad can quickly deploy Fractl upon exiting an MRAP or APC.

Laser weaponry is a case of study for multiple countries to combat UAV threats at short ranges with minimal engagement costs compared to even anti-aircraft guns. Small UAVs like FPV types aren’t built to be sturdy, specifically for extreme heat, which can be exploited against propellers and batteries. Alternatively, optics can be blinded at ranges longer than hard-kill, which is the sole way for such UAVs to acquire their targets precisely. The U.S., Turkiye and Germany are actively developing laser weapons. The U.S. plans to introduce laser weapons on its Stryker AFVs. 

Turkiye has developed several vehicle-based solutions and NAZAR for soft-kill against optics used on missiles and UAVs. Germany rather wants to integrate laser weapons on purely hard-kill systems like Skyranger 30 to support the main weapon.