• A concept image of a counter-drone directed energy weapon.
Lockheed Martin via USNI
    A concept image of a counter-drone directed energy weapon. Lockheed Martin via USNI

Canberra-based EOS Defence Systems will field a 26 kW laser directed energy (DE) counter-drone capability in November, CEO Grant Sanderson has disclosed to ADM.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work in this area for the past couple of years and what we’re calling the counter-drone directed energy product is now undergoing materiel testing and goes into the field in November,” Sanderson said. “Currently it’s containerised, but we intend to have it mounted in a mobile platform by 2022.”

The DE weapon system includes a beam director and a co-mounted optical target identification and tracking system.

Developed and manufactured in-house, the 26 kW high energy laser (HEL) in its current format is capable of scaling to about 50 kW.

“We are a laser company,” said Sanderson. “All of our laser technologies are high-power and high beam quality continuous wave lasers coupled to EOS adaptive optics.

“We are able to build these solutions to almost any scale relevant to the task being addressed, and the mechanical and fire control architectures for our direct fire remote weapon stations and our directed energy systems are built on the same technologies and sub-systems.”

“The directed energy will kill a drone well beyond 1.5 km although range depends on the atmosphere and the level of elevation – the colder and the higher the better.

“If you’ve got the right power and laser capability, essentially you end up with a bottomless magazine. It’s more expensive than a ballistic option but it brings a significant additional capability.”

EOS is currently involved in contract negotiations with what Sanderson describes as the world’s largest counter-drone program, but an outcome is unlikely until next year, the program has not been identified and the capabilities under discussion have not been disclosed.

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