The Greatness of DE M-SHORAD, the US's New Drone Killing Laser Weapon

The Greatness of DE M-SHORAD, the US's New Drone Killing Laser Weapon
The Greatness of DE M-SHORAD, the US's New Drone Killing Laser Weapon

International Military - The presence of drones on the battlefield really threatens the operation of heavy combat vehicles such as tanks and military facilities. One effort to prevent this is by making drone shooting laser weapons. Apart from being deadly, drones are relatively cheaper to manufacture and operate, making it possible to deploy them in large numbers. To fight this, weapons are needed that can shoot down drones quickly and of course at low cost.

Recently, the United States military presented a new weapon capable of shooting down drones and artillery such as mortars and rockets, namely Directed Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (DE M-SHORAD). This laser weapon has been installed on four Stryker infantry fighting vehicles and is ready to be deployed into battle.

The DE M-SHORAD laser has a power of 50 kilowatts combined with the sophistication of the Stryker infantry fighting vehicle. An onboard generator provides power for the lasers, and the vehicle is also equipped with air threat detection, tracking and targeting equipment. The result is a self-contained system that does not require a convoy of support vehicles, which can be used to provide air cover for other maneuver forces such as Strykers, tanks, and mechanized infantry companies.

The laser on the DE M-SHORAD works by focusing an intense laser beam on the target. This ray was extremely hot, almost like a thin flame burner. A laser can burn the wings or rotors of a flying drone, causing it to suffer structural failure and crash to the ground.

Laser shots can also destroy drones by burning out the circuitry inside them, blinding the cameras that human operators use to control the drone, or in the case of drones that use fuel motors, causing the fuel to catch fire, destroying the drone.

DE M-SHORAD can also be installed on Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, or Stryker infantry fighting vehicles. The way this tool works is scanning the sky looking for the presence of enemy drones. If a drone or group of drones is detected, the system can quickly shoot them down. The system can also shoot down enemy artillery projectiles, and in a May 2022 test, successfully shot down an artillery rocket and mortar shell.

The ability to shoot down enemy artillery projectiles on the battlefield is an ability that no other military force has ever had before. Although technically possible, using expensive missiles to shoot down cheap artillery shells makes deployment on the battlefield impractical.

Israel's Iron Dome defense system, for example, uses missiles worth $40,000 to $50,000 to shoot down rockets that cost about $300 to $800. Meanwhile the Stryker laser vehicle promises a more efficient cost ratio. Although the initial purchase cost of the DE M-SHORAD is high, the cost per shot is only the amount of diesel fuel to generate the electricity needed to power the weapon.

This also means that, in contrast to gun- or missile-based systems that rely on individual munitions to build up an ammunition supply, as long as the laser has fuel to drive a generator, it can keep firing.

The US Army distributed the first four DE M-SHORAD vehicles to Delta Company, 4th Battalion, and 60th artillery regiment. It's not yet clear how many other Stryker laser vehicles will follow, but after drone attacks that destroyed tanks and moderns in Ukraine and Israel, defense against drones will be a top priority in NATO and Western armed forces.

Last weekend, a $500 drone carrying an $800 PG-7V anti-tank rocket took out a $4 million Merkava IV tank. This shows that drones are very deadly.

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