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The long-discussed equipping of a German naval ship with a laser system is evidently about to be implemented with the first partial contract award. For the project to test the new technology, Rheinmetall and MBDA Germany formed a working group.

As early as the end of the second quarter, the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) signed a contract with Rheinmetall Waffen Munition GmbH for the production of a laser source demonstrator, Rheinmetall writes in a current press release. The volume of the order is in the lower double-digit million euro range. Rheinmetall has been commissioned by the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use to develop a key component for a future laser weapon system.

This should be the first step towards realizing the technology project. Experts now expect that the consortium consisting of Rheinmetall Waffen Munition and MBDA Germany will shortly be commissioned with the creation, integration and testing of a high-energy laser demonstrator for the Navy. The leading developers of high-energy laser systems in Germany, Rheinmetall and MBDA Germany, have formed a working group for system development.

As Rheinmetall further writes in its communication, the laser source demonstrator can be used across the board in various projects to investigate the technology for military applications. As a first project, the demonstrator will be used for a one-year test phase on the frigate Sachsen. At first it was considered to realize the laser project on a corvette.

Laser-Tests auf Fregatte rücken näher

The laser source demonstrator is based on the technology of spectral coupling, which has been studied for years, continues Rheinmetall. The key data of the demonstrator are therefore a scalable output power of up to 20 kW with very good beam quality. At its core, the demonstrator consists of twelve almost identical 2 kW fiber laser modules. These would be coupled to a laser beam with very good beam quality via a beam combiner - an assembly for combining the beams from several laser sources into one overall beam based on dielectric grid technology.

According to Rheinmetall, the laser source demonstrator is a key component for a laser weapon system. The spectral coupling offers at the same time low complexity and high modularity with a growth potential up to the laser power class of 100 kW. In addition, the spectral coupling technology can also work as a passive system with extremely little control effort.

Gerhard Heiming / Bianca Steiner / lah