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For those familiar with German weaponry through the years, Rheinmetall is practically a household name. From the MG 42 of WWII fame to the KZO Tactical UAV, they’ve been one of the leading arms manufacturers for armies around the world. And now, they’ve apparently successfully test fired their latest creation — a frickin’ laser gun . . .

From the press release:

Rheinmetall has successfully tested its new 50kW high-energy weapon technology demonstrator. Conducted at the end of November, the test encompassed the entire operational sequence from target detection and tracking to target engagement. Building on a 123-year heritage, the Düsseldorf, Germany-based Group has once again made good its claim to be the global leader in high-energy laser (HEL) technology.

It looks like they’re planning on using this kind of thing in a defensive role, intercepting incoming aircraft and projectiles. Which is a lot easier when your projectile is traveling at relativistic speeds instead of merely a couple thousand feet per second.

Witnessed by leading experts, the demonstration delivered compelling evidence for the 50kW HEL weapon technology demonstrator’s high stability: a massive, 15mm-thick steel girder was cut through at a distance of 1,000 metres. The successful shooting down of several nose-diving target drones at a range of two kilometres formed the second major highlight. Though they were flying at over 50 metres a second, the Skyguard radar had no trouble detecting the incoming unmanned aerial vehicles at a distance of three kilometres. Then the 30kW weapon station used the Skyguard data to carry out rough tracking mechanically. The optical tracking system in the Beam Forming Units (BFU’s) in the individual leaser weapon modules performed fine tracking of the UAVs. After reaching the programmed fire sector the laser weapon modules engaged the UAV’s immediately and destroyed the incoming UAVs within a few seconds.

The third highlight: detection, pursuit and successful engagement of an extremely small ballistic target. A steel ball measuring 82 mm in diameter and travelling at approximately 50 m/sec, the target replicated a mortar round. The Skyguard fire control unit immediately detected the target, followed by mechanical tracking with the 30kW laser weapon station. At this point, the BFU of the laser weapon module took over, optically tracking the target, which was then engaged and destroyed in flight, leaving no doubt as to the tactical viability of using laser weapons in future C-RAM scenarios. Moreover, the test makes clear that the time necessary for engaging mortar rounds at long ranges can be substantially reduced. Today, the required engagement time is already low enough to be in the region needed for C-RAM applications – even when adverse weather conditions make targets difficult to detect.

Yeah, that right there is freaking awesome.

They’ve shown this tech off before, but in the last year they’ve been able to double the power output of the laser system without making the box much larger. The system being shown off is already compact enough to be mounted on ships or flatbed trucks, and would work great in static positions.

I just can’t wait for these puppies to get down to the man-portable size. Just imagine never having to calculate wind, bullet drop or lead for a target ever again. Point, click, dinner. Hell, it might even cook the thing on the hoof . . .

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  1. K. The panty wetters are having a stroke about MSR’s. Think what a man portable death ray would do to their already frail hold on stability.

  2. From the wonderful people who brought us the blitzkreig — death rays! Finally, we can have a lightning war with actual lightning. I know I’m just tickled pink.

  3. There’s no need for 50 kW lasers. That’s just ridiculous. No same person needs 50 kW. We need to limit these to 10 kW immediately.

  4. The anti’s are always talking about “compromise”. How about we give up our truck mounted 50 kw lasers for constitutional carry and MSR’s with standard mags?

  5. I’m not surprised in the slightest. It WOULD be the Germans who’d successfully test something like this.

  6. I only take my lasers as a Phased Plasma Rifle and it absoloutley must be in a 40 watt range?

    Dont have them yet? I guess Ill just take the Uzi 9mm

    • Because at 40 watts you wouldnt need a 12 gauge auto-loader, Uzi 9mm or .45 long slide with laser sighting.

  7. Lasers are cool, but there will always be the “inconvenient” mirror :). And stealth, no radar signature, no trackie…

    • There are a lot of other ways to detect a flying object, it’s just a matter of implementing a network. For example, lasers can be used to detect air displacement caused by airplanes.

    • A tricky bit, but I read it to be the interceptor was traveling at speed of light. And interceptor velocity has always been one of the issues.

  8. These are already banned under “that shoulder thingy that goes up”. That was a laser on the alien’s shoulder right?

  9. This would be perfect for hunting elk, don’t you think? I mean we can’t limit ourselves in the field. Only Fudds would be against it.

  10. Can I mount one on a trucks( real truck not a pickup) cabin ? Together with carbon nanotube armor you would have efficent vehicle.

  11. My only problem is that this costs millions of bucks to develop while the enemy just uses the same recruitment/propaganda to bring out their continuous swarm of suicide bombers, mortar squads behind hospitals, and other similar low-cost tactics.

    Still, gimme that lazergun!

  12. The thing I like about this is that you target bad guy “X” and hit the button. No loud boom, no 30 foot crater, just a small pile of ash where bad guy “X” was standing and his 2 friends left to wonder if it was the hand of God that smoked ol’ X’s butt.

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