As part of a Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) system project with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), Raytheon UK has contracted British electronic-scanning radar designer and manufacturer Blighter Surveillance Systems to deliver its multi-mode A800 3D e-scan radars. 

Global directed energy weapons spending was valued at $4.1bn in 2020 according to GlobalData’s ‘Thematic Research: Directed Energy Weapons (2022)’ report. 

After many years of development, directed energy weapons (DEW) are quickly moving from the realm of experimental technology to actual combat use. Although technical experts all over the world have long lauded DEW for its potential cost savings, logistics advantages, and pinpoint accuracy, it is only in the last few years that militaries like China’s, Israel’s, Russia’s, the United Kingdom’s, and the United States’ have been able to field these technologies by integrating them with existing platforms or capabilities. The urge to attain and maintain technology overmatch in the face of escalating threats from peer-level adversaries has led a growing number of military organisations to increase their spending in this area.

“We are excited to be working with Raytheon UK on this project which will demonstrate how our cutting-edge A800 e-scanning radar can operate in synchronicity with next-generation technology to provide the edge on the battlefield,” said Blighter CEO, James Long,

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“We are proud to provide our expertise in threat detection and integration for such an important step in Counter-UAV operations.”

Using two A800 radars for initial target identification and direction of the laser’s targeting system, the project will offer a demonstration system to illustrate the potential of the Raytheon Technologies-manufactured laser in neutralising small uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs). Mounted on a vehicle, the laser weapon system will include ground based A800 support for detecting and naming. 

Trials will be conducted at a UK MoD test range, and Blighter will support the design phase and develop a plan for operation and maintenance. 

The A800 3D radar from Blighter is a flexible, ground-based radar with a maximum range of 20km that uses multi-mode surveillance technology typically reserved for large-scale radar systems. The A800’s multi-mode capabilities can identify targets in all conventional domains while still remaining inside the LDEW’s operational zone. 

The A800 multi-mode drone detection radar will be delivered in an ITAR-free off-the-shelf format.