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!