China unveils anti-drone laser weapon

World Today

“Low altitude guard“ developed by China Academy of Engineering Physics . Photo Courtesy: Xinhua

China has developed and successfully tested a highly accurate laser defense system against light weight drones.

The machine specially targets small-scale drones flying at low attitude, and is able to shoot down various small aircraft within a two-kilometer (1.25 miles) radius — which it can do in five seconds after locating its target — according to a statement released Sunday by the China Academy of Engineering Physics, one of the system’s co-developers.

Characterized by its speed, precision, and low noise, the system is designed to destroy unmanned, small-scale drones flying within an altitude of 500 meters and at speeds below 50 meters per second.

“Intercepting such drones is usually the work of snipers and helicopters, but their success rate is not as high and mistakes with accuracy can result in unwanted damage,” said Yi Jinsong, a manager with China Jiuyuan Hi-Tech Equipment Corp., a group under the academy spearheading the project.

According to Yi, small-scale, unmanned drones are relatively cheap and easy to use, which makes them a likely choice for terrorists. In addition, concerns have been raised over drones engaged in unlicensed mapping activities and the affect this could have on military and civil aerial activities.

The new laser system, which will either be installed or transported in vehicles, is expected to play a key role in ensuring security during major events in urban areas, the statement said, adding that a recent test saw the machine successfully shoot down more than 30 drones, which has a 100 percent success rate.

The academy revealed that it was developing similar laser security systems with greater power and range.

Article based on reporting by Xinhua.