Image is for representational purposes only.

German defense giant Reinmetal (RHM) has unveiled a smart new weapon system consisting of an integrated combination of a high energy laser, a 30mm automatic cannon, and guided missiles. The new hybrid weapon system, called Skyranger 30 HEL, is capable of identifying and destroying any threat from the air, said RHM.

The Skyranger 30 HEL is a weapon turret that integrates with an armored infantry vehicle. It has a built-in sensor network that monitors threats from the air, and on identifying one, its smart weapon system processes the collected information and decides which of the three options it will deploy to counter the threat.

Skyranger 30 HEL can be integrated both mechanically and systemically; it can also be updated by adding new hardware or software, to boost its capabilities.

Skyranger 30 HEL can be mounted either on wheeled or tracked combat vehicles, including the Boxer and Lynx KF41.

Inner workings

As stated earlier, the Skyranger 30 HEL laser system, is made up of three components –a laser source, a laser guidance system, and a laser weapon station. The laser weapon station has built-in integrated sensors. Using the three components, HEL monitors the movement of enemy aircraft and decides at what point it is most appropriate to fire a laser beam at it, burning its electronics.

Although Rheinmetall has said the power of Skyranger 30 HEL laser system is in the range of 100kW, in tests however, the power of the laser has not exceeded 20 kW.

Laser powers up to 20-50 kW are planned for the first phase of implementation. The laser beam can be aimed at the target with high accuracy, thanks to subcomponents in the laser guidance system, whose interaction leads to high power and beam quality.

Integrated weapon launcher

Since the Skyranger 30 HEL laser system uses a system of integrated cruise missile launchers, the capability provides it greater flexibility to equip it on combat vehicles, ensuring the downing of enemy aircraft at a greater distance. In this way, its operational capability is significantly increased.

According to Rheinmetall, the 30mmx173 KCE is the world’s most effective weapon of its caliber and can fire up to 1,200 shots per minute. It also has a delayed firing system through the use of programmable ammunition which are capable of hitting significantly smaller air targets, such as UAVs.