Raytheon's Laser-Dune-Buggy Blasts Drone-Swarm Out Of The Sky

Earlier this year, Raytheon boasted in a press release about combining a solid-state laser with an advanced variant of the company’s Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS) of sensors — mounted on a militarized all-terrain Polaris light-vehicle. The press release describes the vehicle as an “agile, mobile, and effective” war machine to protect troops from weaponized unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) threats.

Raytheon said its “engineers and physicists are doing something that has never been done before,” and frankly, the militarized laser dune buggy looks like it is straight out of the Mad Max movies.

“Basically, we’re putting a laser on a dune buggy to knock drones out of the sky,” said Dr. Ben Allison, director of Raytheon’s high-energy laser program.

“It’s actually a little more complicated than that,” Allison added.

Allison’s team has managed to mount a high-energy laser with an advanced variant of Raytheon’s Multi-Spectral Targeting System (MTS), an advanced package of electro-optical/ infrared (EO/IR), laser designation, and laser illumination capabilities integrated into a single sensor onto the bed of a Polaris MRZR.

As stated by Allison, the concept of laser blasting drones from the sky with dune buggies was conceived from a meeting with Raytheon’s CEO Chairman Tom Kennedy last year. Kennedy expressed his disbelief to Allison when an allied nation [most likely Israel] used the Patriot missile system to intercept cheap weaponized drones outfitted with grenade-like munitions.

Typical quadcopters used by terrorist groups are worth several hundred dollars, while Patriot missiles cost about $2 million per rocket.

“That cost-to-kill ratio is high,” explained Allison, “but the threat is clear. So, the question became, ‘What can we do for a counter-UAS system using a high-energy laser, and do it quickly. We didn’t want to go out and do a bunch of research and development. We wanted to take the assets and capabilities Raytheon has today and use them to really affect this asymmetrical threat. We settled on a small system that’s hugely capable.”

Here is Raytheon’s Laser Dune Buggy versus a Drone in action: 

According to Raytheon’s latest press release, around forty-five unmanned aerial vehicles and drones were blasted out of the sky, downed by the company’s “advanced high-power microwave and laser dune buggy.” The field training exercise known as Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment was recently conducted at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Raytheon states that high-ranking military and defense industry officials spectated the field training exercise to grasp an understanding of new “ways to bridge the Army’s capability gaps in long-range fires and maneuver short-range air defense.”

Highlights from the event include:

  • Raytheon’s high-power microwave system engaged multiple UAV swarms, downing 33 drones, two and three at a time.

  • Raytheon’s high energy laser, or HEL, system identified, tracked, engaged and downed 12 airborne, maneuvering Class I and II UAVs, and destroyed six stationary mortar projectiles.

Within the press release, it seems as Raytheon was testing yet another high-energy gun at Fort Still — separate from the laser dune buggy. Raytheon describes the weapon as a “directed energy system emits an adjustable energy beam that, when aimed at airborne targets such as drones, renders them unable to fly.”

“The speed and low cost per engagement of directed energy is revolutionary in protecting our troops against drones,” said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. “We have spent decades perfecting the high-power microwave system, which may soon give our military a significant advantage against this proliferating threat.”

“Our customer needed a solution, and they needed it fast,” said Dr. Ben Allison, director of Raytheon’s HEL product line. “So, we took what we’ve learned and combined it with combat-proven components to rapidly deliver a small, self-contained and easily deployed counter-UAV system.”

Interesting enough, we reported on Tuesday, the Army is scrambling to plug the gap in short-range defenses. In doing so, the Army is testing its Mobile High Energy Lasers (MEHEL) mounted on the M1126 Stryker armoured personnel carriers in Europe. The Stryker-mounted MEHEL is designed for short-range aerial threats, such as weaponized drones.

U.S. Soldiers from the Field Artillery Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment are now equipped with newly developed laser weapon MEHEL mounted on 8×8 Stryker armoured vehicle. The Stryker with MEHEL 2.0 was presented for the first time on General Dynamics Land Systems booth during the AUSA exhibition in Washington D.C. in October 2016 equipped with a 5kW beam director.

The 5 kW laser project is part of the Mobile Experimental High Energy Laser. It represents an advance over a previous laser tested in 2016, and will lead into more powerful, longer ranging anti-drone, anti-missile laser systems. The Stryker-mounted MEHEL has proven to be extremely efficient in eliminating enemy drone targets, and its use in Europe will help the U.S. Army to assess emerging concepts, technologies and interoperability.

With millions of commercial and hobby drones buzzing in the skies around the world, it seems like the Pentagon has taken notice of the growing threat that these drones could be soon weaponized. After all, the Pentagon has more than 800 military bases around the world...

It is increasingly evident that the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and its allies cannot afford to use a $2 million Patriot missile to blast a $500 drone from the sky. As a result, to lower the cost-to-kill ratio, the Pentagon has decided to start strapping drone-killing lasers to its war machines. As we have said before, you are starting to get the picture of how the next war will be fought... Have you prepared? 


any_mouse shamus001 Fri, 03/23/2018 - 20:28 Permalink

A Raytheon Exec realized the Israelis were wasting $2 million to destroy a $500 drone.

Now why couldn't the Jews have figured that out first?

OPM. The Patriots are bought by Israel using American aid money that they receive courtesy of dual citizen congress critters and AIPAC lobbying for the foreign state of Israel.


In reply to by shamus001

Bastille Day any_mouse Fri, 03/23/2018 - 21:24 Permalink

They used a $2 million dollar missile on a drone.  We'll show them.  We'll use a $2 billion dollar laser.

It seems to me a few cents of lead might have been just as effective on that drone in the video.

Also, sooner or later the mic is going to wake up that a laser blast might be a little too efficient once the lasers are developed.  Use a missile and it's $2 million to reload.  Use a laser, recharge.

In reply to by any_mouse

NiggaPleeze Baron von Bud Sat, 03/24/2018 - 04:59 Permalink


Was my thought exactly.  It will take a few cents to coat the drone with some paint or other sprayed on material (aluminum?) which will divert the laser energy.

But in the meantime Raytheon can sell thousands of these to the dumb taxpayer.

Before buying any, they should award a $1 million prize to any American high school student who can defeat the stupid laser.

Ahh, nope, won't happen, that would make sense.

In reply to by Baron von Bud

One of these i… Ignatius Fri, 03/23/2018 - 22:53 Permalink

That would be fucked against a properly manoeuvering drone with a shiny coating.

When weaponised drones get basic situational awareness though AI & lidar, as is starting to happen in the hobby arena, they will be able to manoever really nastily on their way in to do their evil.

The only way we are going to stop all this nastiness, my fellow nasty motherfuckers and bitchez, is to stop being nasty ourselves, each and every one of us.. Capische? There actually IS no other way.

I just hope it does not take a nuclear exchange before everyone who reads this agrees with me on this vital issue. Yeah, you're all cunts and very objectionable, but even as far as the guy who burned my boat I don't want any of you dead. And I sure as shit don't want a wedding party of achmeds droned in my name any more, nor do I want the citzens of vladivostock vapourised under any fucking circumstances. I don't want to go to war with Russia either, they are a largely incomprehensible but very accomplished people. I'd like to learn from them a bit more to be honest. We get loads of yank TV but how come no rooskie TV with subtitles, eh? I'm sure it'd be interesting to watch. But no. We don't even get the cameras and those marvellously basic motorcycles anymore, all we get is Russia is bad. Why? Because they actually stepped up when asked by what appears to me to be an enlighted and moderate leader of his country to help save his country wich was beseiged with hoodlums driving american military hardware about and blowing stuff up apparently aided by the USAF! Meanwhile the (rightfully pissed off and confused) people who once lived in those neighbourhoods are feeried gleefully half way around the world by georgy soros (alledgedly) to break up nation states culturally. But, ultimately (((they))) still need US to be nasty.So don't be.

It's the only practical rebellion that we will have left to us soon is to become better people than they want us to be.

Viva La revolucion!

In reply to by Ignatius

OverTheHedge Posa Sat, 03/24/2018 - 02:22 Permalink

It's not. Little clusters of infantry huddled behind each one of these, spending more of their time looking up rather than down. I don't think I want to fight in the next war - it doesn't look to be much fun.

As the nice man above says: what can't we all be polite to each other for a change? Hands up who wants to die in a cluster-bomb attack? Anyone? Anyone? 


In reply to by Posa

DaiRR are we there yet Fri, 03/23/2018 - 19:10 Permalink

But will the laser gun be there to shoot down the swarms of bumble bee sized drones injecting poison that are going to take out Obama, Holder, Hillary, Lynch, Comey, McCabe, Powers, Lerner, Clapper, etc. ?  They're scared.  Protect them Raytheon !  

Hope this new generation of our military's directed energy weapons can do better than the $6.9 billion Sgt. Dork, excuse me, Sgt York DIVAD weapon whose automated search-track-identify-fire setting couldn't sufficiently discriminate between the good guys and the bad guys.

In reply to by are we there yet

takeaction DillyDilly Fri, 03/23/2018 - 19:08 Permalink

That was it???


A basically non moving drone...the DJI Phantom household drone....catches a little fire after a while..

What a JOKE.

This was in 2012......can you imagine 1000 of these armed things coming all around....Go to about 50 seconds in....This laser Dune buggy isn't hitting SHIT. Amazing demonstration from 6 years ago.


In reply to by DillyDilly

floosy takeaction Sat, 03/24/2018 - 01:19 Permalink

I have a $40 quadrocopter from Aldi that can do various semi autonomous athletic manouvers.

Think about that for a moment. 40 bucks and the thing can be set to do flips, spins, and all sorts of routines on its own in mid air. And can navigate back to you afterwards.  For 40 dollars

In reply to by takeaction

GooseShtepping Moron snblitz Sat, 03/24/2018 - 00:01 Permalink

The Minuteman is a ballistic missile, i.e. a rocket that flies on a suborbital trajectory and completely exits the Earth's atmosphere for most of its flight path. The "Mach 23" thing is just an awkward way of expressing the warhead's maximum speed, since there really is no such thing as a Mach number in space. Russia's hypersonic missiles fly at greater than Mach 5 within the Earth's atmosphere and near the surface, and are maneuverable.

In reply to by snblitz