The pace of High Energy Laser (HEL) technology has become a sprint with nations and defense firms alike racing to develop more and more powerful systems. Nowhere is this breakneck pace clearer than at Rheinmetall's Ochsenboden Proving Ground, especially during a recent test of the company's shiny, new, 500-percent improved HEL anti-artillery platform.
This past November, Rheinmetall unveiled its 50kW paired laser platform. It joins other recent HEL developments such as Boeing's Laser Truck, and the US Navy's 100kW testing unit. It consists of a 30kW weapons station that works in conjunction with a slightly smaller 20kW station to superimpose their beam pulses onto a single target—not unlike frying ants using the combined power of two magnifying glasses. And boy can it fry.