France tests a laser anti-drone system

The French military on Wednesday used a laser cannon to destroy a drone in a technology test that the government hopes will be used to protect the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The Army Ministry said the test, conducted near the Atlantic coast in southwestern France, was a first for Europe, adding that the United States and Israel were also working on similar weapons based on ” Star Wars “.

France plans to use the system, developed by local start-up Cilas with public funds, to protect military bases and nuclear power plants, as well as major events, against small low-flying drones that can evade radar detection.

“We aim to have a fully operational system in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics,” a ministry spokesperson said.

The prototype tested on Wednesday can detect light commercial drones at a distance of up to 3 km (1.8 miles), track them and destroy them once they come within 1 km of the gun.

Its laser beam is a million times more powerful than that used by QR code readers, the ministry said.

“We must adapt to an ever-evolving threat and the growing ability of drones to evade jamming devices or conventional missile shields,” the ministry spokesman said.

The ministry said it had also issued tenders for the development of a magnetic wave cannon and interceptor drones due to the growing threat of attacks using swarms of drones.