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US Air Force gets its first anti-drone laser weapon from Raytheon

It can detect and shoot down drones in seconds.
Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
October 23, 2019
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Raytheon has delivered the first anti-drone buggy to the US Air Force, just over year after it introduced the technology. It's a high-energy laser system mounted on a small all-terrain vehicle, to be specific, which uses electro-optical/infrared sensors to detect and track drones. After it identifies and tracks the unwelcome flying device, it then neutralizes it with its laser in a process that takes a few seconds.

Raytheon says the system can draw power from a standard 220-volt outlet and can deliver dozens -- it didn't mention an exact number -- of laser shots on a single charge. However, it can also be paired with a generator if it needs to be on the field for an extended period.

The Air Force received the anti-drone system earlier this month and will deploy it overseas for a year-long experiment. It will train operators on how to use the system while testing how effective it is in real-world conditions. We're guessing the laser-equipped buggy would be used to prevent enemy drones from collecting information on military bases or to shoot down weapon-equipped unmanned aerial systems.

Raytheon president Roy Azevedo said:

"Five years ago, few people worried about the drone threat. Now, we hear about attacks or incursions all the time. Our customers saw this coming and asked us to develop a ready-now counter-UAS capability. We did just that by going from the drawing board to delivery in less than 24 months."

Check out how the company's anti-drone system works below:

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