German military technology group Rheinmetall and the German Bundeswehr (army) recently tested a high-energy laser effector which was installed on a German warship operating on the high seas.
To carry out the test, Rheinmetall mounted a 10-kilowatt high-energy laser (HEL) effector on a MLG 27 light naval gun.
The test programme included tracking of potential targets, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and very small surface craft. Furthermore, the HEL effector was also tested against stationary targets on land.
Besides the successful mounting of a 10-kW HEL effector on an MLG 27, Rheinmetall said the test programme demonstrated for the first time the effectiveness of Rheinmetall HEL effector technology in maritime operations.
The company further said the test programme revealed insights important for the development of future HEL naval effectors.
The MLG 27 is designed to provide point-defence protection for both sea- and land-based units. In its naval variant, this 27mm weapon system is designed for layered ship self-defence and can engage air and surface targets, including high-speed, highly manoeuvrable watercraft and targets on shore.
Short for “Marineleichtgeschütz 27mm” (“light naval gun”), the MLG27 is produced at the Rheinmetall Weapons and Munitions (RWM) Mauser plant in Oberndorf, Germany. The MLG 27 is an autonomous weapon system, controlled remotely from its dedicated operations console.
The system is equipped with a laser range finder, day/night vision capability and a modern automatic tracking system with multiple tracking modes (manual, semiautomatic and automatic). Rheinmetall further says the lightweight MLG 27 can be installed on nearly any naval surface vessel without deck penetration.