Sunday, July 29, 2018 by Edsel Cook
China is now offering a laser weapon that can clear the skies of those pesky flying drones, an article in The Asia Times stated. Developed by the country’s biggest state-owned arms dealer, it can swat down small unmanned aerial vehicles at distances of up to 800 meters.
The new laser is called Silent Hunter. It is developed by Chinese defense manufacturing company Poly Technologies, a subsidiary company of the China Poly Group Corporation that deals in missiles and other weapons. The parent company is known for selling weapons and auctioning artworks.
Silent Hunter was described as a cutting-edge laser weapon intended for use by military and police forces alike. It is intended to defend an airspace against hostiles and to suppress terrorism.
The laser can engage small, slow-moving aerial vehicles that are flying at low altitudes. It is powerful enough to burn through 10 millimeters of steel at a range of 800 meters. It has a claimed maximum range of 4,000 meters.
It was one of the products at the International Exhibition of Weapons Systems and Military Equipment in Kazakhstan during March 2018. The Poly Technologies booth featured a simulated interception of its new product in action.
In the display, Silent Hunter successfully shot down an airborne drone at a range of 300 meters. (Related: U.S. Military creating non-lethal laser that projects screaming balls of plasma in the air to scare enemies.)
During the defense fair, Poly Technologies spokespersons warned that aerial drones are carrying increasingly large payloads. These small UAVs can be acquired or even built by terrorists with growing ease. Terrorist drones could potentially be used to drop bombs, poison gas, or bioweapons on civilian targets.
Poly Technologies promoted Silent Hunter as the best tool for police forces to stop terror attacks that use drones. The laser can shoot down terrorist drones, thereby preventing any potential aerial attack and ending hostile observation.
In addition to police use, Silent Hunter will also serve as a tactical weapon for defending airspace from intruders.
A civilian version will feature a weaker laser that will not destroy drones outright. Instead, the laser can jam the communication systems of its target, which prevents the drone from being controlled by its user.
This reduced-capability version of Silent Hunter is being offered to celebrities, government officials, and other prominent people who wish to protect their privacy. It is intended to be used against the aerial drones employed by paparazzi to spy on their celebrity targets.
A 2017 article by U.K. military magazine Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that Silent Hunter was deployed during the 2016 G20 Summit held in China. The laser was used to secure the airspace of the venue from unauthorized drones.
Silent Hunter has undergone significant improvements since its successful debut. The original version is a fixed emplacement made up of several modules that are assembled on site. Each module weighed no more than 200 kilograms to make it easier to haul around.
Starting in 2017, the newer iteration can be fitted aboard a ground vehicle or a naval ship. The mobile version of Silent Hunter can fire while the vehicle is on the move. It can also track and engage multiple targets, taking just six seconds to shift from one target to another.
Silent Hunter uses a new fiber-optic laser system instead of the more traditional chemical lasers. The strength of the laser beam can be adjusted from five, 10, 20, and 30 kilowatts. Each shot costs less than $1, and the entire system only consumes power when the laser opens fire.
Learn more about the threat posed by aerial drones and lasers at NationalSecurity.news.