MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The UK Ministry of Defense has awarded a 30 million pound (around $36 million) contract to produce a prototype laser weapon, local media reported on Thursday.
According to a ministry spokesperson, the prototype is not being developed with a specific threat in mind, but to assess whether this type of weaponry, using directed energy technology, could benefit the armed forces, the BBC reported.
If successful, the project could result in a demonstration of the system in 2019, and the first laser weapons could come into service by the mid-2020s.
The type of weaponry could be used to target drones, missiles and mortars, among other threats.
The agreement has been finalized with a consortium of European defense firms, known as UK Dragonfire and consisting of MBDA, Qinetiq, Leonardo-Finmeccanica GKN, Arke, BAE Systems and Marshall ADG.