The French army says it has successfully completed a series of tests with an anti-drone laser to be deployed at the time of the 2024 Olympic Games, which will be held in Paris. The laser system may even be deployed earlier, namely during the 2023 Rugby World Cup in the autumn of 2023. The laser cannon is capable of shooting a drone out of the air at a distance of one kilometer or 0.625 miles.
France tests anti-drone laser for 2024 Olympics
In the organization of large-scale events such as the Olympic Games that will take place in Paris, France in 2024, more and more attention is being paid to anti-drone measures. Not only are there fears that drones are being used illegally to take photos and videos, potentially posing a threat to the public, there is also growing concern about terrorists who could carry out attacks using drones.
For this reason, the French army recently conducted tests with the High-Energy Laser for Multiple Application – Power (HELMA-P), a laser cannon that is able to neutralize an unwanted drone at a distance of one kilometer. The associated detection system has a range of three kilometers (1.875 miles). This means that the drone can be spotted in time and, if it becomes a real threat, can be brought to the ground.
According to the developer of the laser weapon, the HELMA-P is unique to Europe. Only in the US and Israel does comparable technology exist, claims the Compagnie Industrielle des Lasers (CILAS), part of ArianeGroup.
Detect, identify and neutralize
“We need to be able to detect, identify and neutralize drones, some of them the size of a bird,” French Defense Minister Florence Parly said before testing the HELMA-P. “In other words, we need good eyes to see, a brain to analyze and a weapon to destroy the threat.”
In addition to the laser weapon, work is also being done on the development of a microwave cannon. High-intensity radio waves are used to render drones harmless. This technology would lend itself better to neutralizing drone swarms.
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