Blighter awarded contract from Raytheon UK for laser energy weapon system project

Blighter Multi-Mode drone detection radar to feature in Raytheon UK's laser weapon system.

08 March 2023
A 50-kilowatt laser mounted on a US Army Stryker during a live-fire exercise at Fort Sill, Oklahoma (Photo: US Army)


Blighter Surveillance Systems will supply its Multi-Mode A800 3D e-scan radars to Raytheon UK as part of a Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) System project with the UK Ministry of Defence. 

The project will deliver a demonstrator system to showcase the capability of Raytheon’s laser in neutralising small Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), using two A800 radars for initial target detection and direction of the laser’s targeting system. The laser weapon system will be mounted to a vehicle, with the ground-based A800 providing detection and designation nearby.

Blighter will assist with the design phase of the system and develop a concept of operation and support during the trials, which will take place at a UK MoD test range. Its A800 3D radar offers a ground-based solution to threat detection, utilising Multi-Mode surveillance, which is usually reserved only for large-scale radar systems and packaging it into a smaller, more flexible radar with a maximum range of 20 km. 

The A800’s Multi-Mode capability allows it to detect targets in the air, on land, and at sea, within the operating region of LDEW, using clutter filters to simplify the LDEW test regime. Blighter Systems says the A800 multi-mode drone detection radar is ideally suited to detecting UAVs and also capable of being mounted to vehicles, towers and masts, and will be supplied in an ITAR-free off-the-shelf configuration. 

The A800 Multi-Mode drone detection radar


In 2021, Raytheon UK was itself awarded a demonstrator contract to provide a High Energy Laser weapon system to the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD), to be installed on “Wolfhound” land patrol vehicles.

Raytheon UK will also open an advanced laser integration centre this year in Livingston, Scotland. Building on multiple contracts and growing demand, the centre will focus on the testing, fielding and maintenance of defensive high-energy laser weapons.

The centre will support existing programs and it will be capable of scaling up as the quantity of fielded systems expands. 

“We’ve all seen that asymmetric threats like drones, rockets, artillery and mortars are a serious problem, and demand is spiking for cost-effective lasers to defeat them,” said Michael Hofle, senior director of High Energy Lasers at Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business. “Standing up an advanced integration facility in the UK reflects the maturity of our technology and our commitment to deliver the HEL systems our customers need to defend the skies.”

Raytheon Technologies has licenses to export various configurations of its HEL technology in the UK, Europe and around the world.

“With experts projecting that high-energy lasers could make up as much as 30% of an air defence’s infrastructure in the future, establishing a regional laser integration centre in the UK is an important step to deliver advanced defensive technology where it’s needed, while reducing overall costs of these systems,” said John Gallagher, managing director of weapons and sensors at Raytheon UK.