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Australia Buys Laser Weapon That Shoots Down 50 Drones in One Charge

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has procured a new laser weapon that can reportedly shoot down over 50 drones in one charge.

Known as the Fractl:2, the portable weapon can generate enough power to burn through steel, according to manufacturer AIM Defence.

It can also track and shoot down an enemy drone traveling 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour with high precision.

The ADF has reportedly earmarked 4.9 million Australian dollars ($3.2 million) to support the acquisition.

Once delivered in mid-2024, the directed-energy system is expected to bolster Canberra’s air defense capabilities and reduce the need for ammunition to shoot down stealthy drones.

‘Safest, Most Deployable Laser System’

Developed in 2019, the battery-powered Fractl:2 can be mounted on a tripod or plugged into a wall socket for continuous operation.

It also boasts a near-zero usage cost, according to AIM Defence.

The weapon is designed with enhanced eye safety measures to limit the risk of blinding associated with typical one-micron systems.

Company co-founder Jae Daniel said the Fractl:2 has successfully demonstrated more than 200 indoor and outdoor drone defeats over the last two years, allowing the manufacturer to improve its capabilities and ensure safe deployment.

“The evolution of Fractl to the Fractl:2 variant reduces the collateral hazard again, by a factor of 100. This makes it the safest and most deployable high-powered laser system in the world, by quite a margin,” he claimed.

‘Critically Needed Capability’

Australia’s decision to procure a laser-based anti-drone system comes amid the increasing threats of unmanned platforms.

Drones have played a crucial role in Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and have been used by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea to carry out attacks.

AIM Defence co-founder Jessica Glenn said countering drones and other autonomous systems has emerged as “one of the most critically needed capabilities” for militaries worldwide.

“For the past four years, AIM Defence has been working with Australia’s defense innovation ecosystem to build a cost-effective, high-precision and deployable directed energy system,” she explained. “Fractl:2 is the culmination of that effort.”

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