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The Telegraph: Ukrainian Armed Forces May Receive Secret Weapons From Britain

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The Telegraph: Ukrainian Armed Forces May Receive Secret Weapons From Britain

It can hit a coin from a kilometre away.

The UK is considering providing Ukraine with the latest prototype laser weapon for air defense, DragonFire. This was announced by Minister of Defense of the United Kingdom Grant Shapps, The Telegraph reports.

Shapps notes that the deployment of these weapons is a priority for the defense sector. It is planned to accelerate the development and deployment of these weapons by 2027.

“What I want to do is speed up what would usually be a very lengthy process, possibly up to 10 years, down to a much shorter timeframe and get it deployed, potentially on ships and potentially on land,” Shapps said.

Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, said on Thursday on a trip to the DragonFire lab that the weapon, which can hit a coin from a kilometre away, “could have huge ramifications”.

What is known about DragonFire

DragonFire is an invisible and silent weapon that operates at a wavelength undetectable to the human eye.

The UK has accelerated the development of laser weapons in the context of geopolitical events such as the war in Ukraine and the Middle East. First, it is planned to install lasers on ships of the British fleet, and then deploy them on land.

The weapon works by focusing 37 channels of 1.5kW laser beams, arranged in a hexagonal array, and combining them with mirrors to merge and amplify the power, a physics phenomenon known as constructive interference.

Tim Kendall, a DSTL senior laser physicist who helped build DragonFire, said this creates “a perfect laser beam” which can be fired out through a telescopic lens.

The weapon is invisible and silent as the wavelength of the light is about one micron, which can not be seen by human eyes and is close to the infrared spectrum of light.

Trials of the weapon, made with an almost entirely bespoke guidance system and off-the-shelf laser parts, have destroyed drones and caused mortars to explode in less than five seconds.

It is hoped the laser can hit drones at a fraction of the cost of launching intercepting missiles, which can reach tens and hundreds of thousands of pounds. According to the publication, the cost of one shot is 10 pounds.

DragonFire travels at the speed of light and its range is still classified. It instantly turns the surface of metal into a 3,000C plasma and can burn through sheet metal, fuselage and weapons in seconds.

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