cilas ariane group HELMA-P
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With a one-kilometer (whatever that is) range, the HELMA-P is a French-made laser weapon designed to knock drones out of the sky. According to CNN.com, the French .gov has ordered one prototype HELMA-P to patrol the skies during the 2024 Paris summer olympics:

“The HELMA-P system provides a calibrated response to the drone threat, from dazzling the drone’s observation instruments to the neutralization of a mini or micro drone (from 100g to 25kg) by altering its structure, causing it to fall in a few seconds,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Altering its structure” is a nice way to say burning a hole through any potential drone.

This prototype will also help “deepen the military’s understanding of its deployment,” as an anti-drone campaign is a priority laid out by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces for the 2019-2025 period, according to the statement.

Makes sense. With a solid targeting system — HELMA-P apparently has radar, radio, and other drone-locating sensors on board — and a sufficiently powerful laser, small drones can be heated up, burned, and/or melted. Since HELMA-P doesn’t emit a “physical laser,” meaning its laser beam is invisible to the human eye, it won’t startle the public into another War of the Worlds situation.

On the downside, bad weather such as fog, clouds, locusts, hail, or just good ol’ rain can render HELMA-P impotent. Of course, weather like that may well provide its own security against rogue drones.

Anyway, cool stuff!

 

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61 COMMENTS

    • Yeah, but stay away from those anti-drone shells. They teh sux.

      Bird to buck is far better, less expensive, and actually works as opposed to the former.

  1. With a one-kilometer (whatever that is) range

    6/10ths of a mile (more or less) heard it from a guy that knows a guy that went to Canada once…

    • I hear yah, my question is are We The People going to get them? using the 2A as being arms. My guess is NO.
      modern tech is going to turn our most powerful powder burners into useless junk that will only have a use for personal protection from citizen/civilian miscreants.
      And that’s not the reason the Second Amendment was written.

      • Well, we’re still a long way off from an effective laser or maser weapon that can put preform a firearm. The tech to make a powerful laser/maser itself is there but the energy storage for something man portable is still a long way off.

        Also, all the gun laws on the books don’t apply to to lasers, masers, guass rifles or plasma weapons. So we have that going for us.

        • And by that time, we’ll probably have nanites than can manufacture new ammo right in the magazine.

  2. it won’t startle the public into another War of the Worlds situation.

    Until little melted drones start raining down on them.

    • Nothing like molten and on fire polymer drizzled liberally across you like flaming salad dressing. That should go over well.

      Experience speaking. Being on fire yourself, esta película malo. Anyway, which dumb ass thought this was a good plan?

  3. OK, my thought was to recall the episode of Black Sheep Squadron when Pappy shot the volleyball with his 45 because the women were beating them.

    • Sadly, this is where disarmists use the poison-pills in Heller and Bruen against us (e.g. claiming “dangerous and unusual”, not “in common use”, etc.). Ask your R government officials about their views of emerging tech and 2A, so we know who is serious and so we don’t get FUDDed into soon-to-be legacy-tech in small-arms.

  4. I can see the “military surplus” ad now – “French Aerial Lasers!! Great deal!!!! Never been fired, only dropped once!”

    • The French surrender meme is enduring and humorous…however, you should try talking to a combat veteran from Afghanistan who worked with the NATO forces in-country. The French were much more serious and professional than the neutered (ball-less) German troops. A shooting buddy, a retired USMC Master Sergeant (multiple deployment veteran), lit me up for commenting negatively on French troops (note: he has not lost his “tuning up” touch).

      • As good as the best of the best are they will never be as good as an RAF cadet armourer/instructor from Pickadilly’s Circus.

      • The French rank-and-file have generally always been good soldiers. It’s their boneheaded leaders putting them in terrible positions that’s produced the embarassing defeats feeding the stereotype.

        • Yeah, everyone should look up the losses the French inflicted on the Germans in WWII before the French government surrendered. The Germans had 27K deaths, 18K missing and 100K wounded. Of course, the French numbers were about double the Germans.

        • @Retro

          You should read a copy of the book “First Day on the Somme”. It details in depth the massive British incompetence. The French obtained their mission objectives in short order with a minimum of troops lost…the Brits not so good.

    • BWAAAAHaaaaaaaaaHaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaahhaaaaaaaaaaa… No, it means they’ll be selling that stuff to the countries that they expect to defend THEM…

    • “Does that mean France is going to start fighting their own battles?”

      *Rolling eyes*.

      Google “French Foreign Legion”…

  5. I want one in the 40 watt
    range!😃 What’s with you boyz who can’t figure out a kilometer? Or a kilogram(2.2046223lbs)???

    • “I want one in the 40 watt range!”

      Go get you one.

      eBay sells laser cutting heads in power levels higher than that.

      I’d be very careful ‘experimenting’ with them, because the beamline is often infrared light, invisible to all except maybe the Possum…

  6. But can the French laser/laser operator surrender to the drone/drone operator remotely? Or do they have meet face to face?

  7. Yeah, some worrisome things here.

    Just because the eye doesn’t see the laser’s operating wavelength, doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous to the eye. For one thing if it can damage a drone it can do physical (“bulk”) damage to the eye, which is relatively fragile, even if that light won’t transmit through the cornea and lens.

    For another thing, the human eye does a fine job of focusing infrared light to the retina, down to around 1 micron wavelength, even though we generally can’t see wavelengths longer than 0.7 – 0.8 microns. Depending on the scenario (power, range, wavelength), even reflected light from the (melting) drone might be enough to cause damage.

    So, yeah, I’d want to know a lot more about these lasers before going to an event “protected” by one … and maybe bring along some of my lab’s laser glasses.

    • “..and maybe bring along some of my lab’s laser glasses.”

      Be absolutely *certain* to get the proper bandpass ones. Different ‘colors’ of laser light need different optical filters.

      The personal penalty for exposing your eye’s retina (where the light sensitive bits are) to laser radiation can be irreversible blindness… 🙁

  8. If a disabled 15 pound drone made of carbon fiber and aluminum falls on someone’s head, does the drone operator get in trouble, or the person that disabled it over a crowd of people?

    • “…does the drone operator get in trouble, or the person that disabled it over a crowd of people?”

      Most than likely, one, the other, or both… 🙁

  9. My own opinion for waht it’s worth is that this is another MASER and not a LASER [MICROWAVE Amplicification instead of LIGHT Ampliification ] which is directed to disrupt ELECTRONIC Systems like AVIONICS Radio coms and Rdars not to BURN things from the skies. THough MICROWAVE Radiation does have HEATING Beffect at short][sh] ranges Potentially MASERS use far less power than LASERS > MASERS are certainly what is meant by PARTICLE WEAPONRY for the UK TEMPEST PROJECT.
    As an aside the whole developement of RADAR, which uses microwave transmissions sprang from a attempt to create a DEATH RAY MACHiNE in the early ’30’s However by 1939 the GERMANS were actually more advanced in RADAR tech than were the British and had in operation STEERABLE SMALL RADARS. The Germans considered the UK CHAIN HOME RADARS to be so crude as to be practically useless though they could have at any timew diected their main bombing effort at them they did not bother except for a few not very successful STUKA Raids THe BRits were so worried that they sent Specialised COMMANDO COMPANY to purloin a complete GERMAN RADAR set, or at least the operational ‘parts of interest’. This successful raid was one of the ‘key’ operations of the entire war and set the tone for most of the furrher RADAR developements of the uK in WW2.

    • @Albert Lj Hall

      “My own opinion for waht it’s worth is that this is another MASER and not a LASER [MICROWAVE Amplicification instead of LIGHT Ampliification ] which is directed to disrupt ELECTRONIC Systems like AVIONICS Radio coms and Rdars not to BURN things from the skies.”

      What should really concern your reading and comprehension skills are non-existant.

      Its a ‘laser’ not a ‘maser’ – its an infrared laser which is invisible to the human eye (unless ya got something that lets you see it)

      Your understanding on this is just as ignorant as your understanding of firearms.

    • My own opinion for waht it’s worth

      Which is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Perhaps you should READ (or have an INTELLIGENT life form read and EXPLAIN it to you) the article and take a while to digest and COMPREHEND what it says. The device is CLEARLY described as an INVISIBLE LASER and a quick trip to the manufacturer’s web site would have explained EVERYTHING you need to know to UNDERSTAND the CONCEPT. As .40 cal said, your reading comprehension skills are indeed non-EXIST(E)NT as is your ability to SPELL and CONSTRUCT SENTENCES. YOU make ALL Brits look like Morons. Please, stop EMBARRASSING yourself and your fellow county folk with your insufferable ignorance.

  10. As a laser engineer and physicist, I am wondering what the heck a “physical laser” is? Could someone dumb that down for me? I can’t find any reference in Walter Koetchner’s 6th Rev. Ed. Of “Solid state laser engineering” or any other text on the subject.

    • ‘physical laser’ is a direct English translation of the French announcement on this without regard for idiomatic connotation for English. In English verbiage it means ‘visible laser’

      • I’m a physicist. We get stuff from French labs all the time they try to translate to English first before sending them and its got all sorts of odd things in them like this. After a while you get used to it and understand what they mean when its read. Same for other languages.

  11. Just be careful in the U.S. messing with drones. Doing anything to interfere with their flight is a “lose your guns forever” felony.

    The best thing to do is be a good witness if you see one being used irresponsibly. Gather as much information as you can. Identify the pilot if possible, but don’t confront them.

    Also, don’t assume ill intent with the mere sight of a drone. It’s probably just a neighbor’s kid playing around or one of your neighbors is selling their house and the realtor’s got a photographer getting photos. Chances are you’re not interesting enough to spy on LOL.

    • “Chances are you’re not interesting enough to spy on LOL.”

      well yes.

      but given the NSA’s surveillance of the internet and the phone records of millions of U.S. citizens, and the ATF illegally maintaining and being caught keeping almost a billion records on firearms owners (54 million in 2021 alone), and government had to build a separate 100 acre ‘server farm’ and storage facility to store all the records they keep from their on going surveillance operation on U.S. citizens – maybe a lot of people are interesting enough for the government to spy on.

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