The UK Ministry of Defence has signed a £30 million contract to build a prototype laser weapon.
The aim of the project is to ascertain whether "directed energy" technology could benefit the armed forces. The contract which was picked up by a consortium of European defence firms will "draw on innovative research into high power lasers so as to understand the potential of the technology" according to Peter Cooper, from the UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
The Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriet Baldwin, said that "truly ground-breaking projects like the Laser Directed Energy Weapon" would "keep this country ahead of the curve".
If the prototypes are successful, the first laser weapons could come into service in the mid-2020s.
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