The newest, but much less glamorous addition to its Olympic arsenal is a laser weapon system that may shoot drones down from the sky.
“The HELMA-P system provides a calibrated response to the drone threat, from dazzling the drone’s observation instruments to the neutralization of a mini or micro drone (from 100g to 25kg) by altering its structure, causing it to fall in a few seconds,” the ministry mentioned in an announcement.
“Altering its structure” is a pleasant strategy to say burning a gap by way of any potential drone.
This prototype will even assist “deepen the military’s understanding of its deployment,” as an anti-drone marketing campaign is a precedence laid out by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces for the 2019-2025 interval, based on the assertion.
The Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) advised CNN that safety of the Games is the duty of native authorities.
The HELMA-P system can shoot out highly effective laser beams that warmth up drones to a degree the place they both burn or overheat and shutdown, based on Jean, chief engineer of weaponry on the ministry’s Basic Directorate for Armament, in command of creating and buying weapons.
The ministry declined to offer out Jean’s final title for safety considerations.
Drone threats have elevated exponentially lately together with for large occasions such because the Olympics, based on Philippe Gros, senior analysis fellow at French safety and protection suppose tank Basis for Strategic Analysis.
Drones can be utilized to scan and search a given space to establish the placement of potential targets. They is also modified to hold weapons or explosives. Mini drones, which is what the French system targets, have been enjoying an energetic function on the frontline in Ukraine.
Other than the laser unit, the anti-drone system will even embody radar and radio frequency sensors to help in finding drones. As soon as recognized, the weapon developed by CILAS, owned by French protection big ArianeGroup, has a one-kilometer killing vary, based on Jean.
However using such a strong weapon in densely populated Paris, the place guests from world wide collect to have fun the Olympics, brings up security considerations.
“An important part of the anti-drone laser program is the safe operation of this weapon,” Jean mentioned.
It will likely be as much as the crew working on the bottom to find out if they need to shoot down a drone or not.
“This decision will take into account the fact that the fall of the damaged drone could lead to some danger,” Jean mentioned.
A laser weapon system can be one of the crucial cost-effective methods to deal with the rising drone threats in city areas, based on consultants.
“One of the reasons lasers are interesting is that, compared to interception missiles, there are no explosives involved and even if the drone explodes, it’s just its debris that will fall. In general, it brings less collateral damage,” Gros advised CNN.
Laser weapons supply different benefits, together with precision and low operational price; they do not want munitions, which helps clarify their rising recognition amongst navy powers resembling the US, China, France and the UK, based on Gros.
Extra particular to drone prevention, the HELMA-P system and different comparable laser weapon methods fill in a spot the place conventional anti-drone instruments battle to maintain up with new developments in drone expertise.
“The problem is drones are becoming more and more autonomous, they can fly many parts of the mission without an operator,” Gros mentioned.
This implies the normal manner of jamming alerts between drones and operators might change into out of date.
Presently, anti-drone laser weapons nonetheless have many weaknesses. For example, dangerous climate affect their accuracy and effectivity. The trade remains to be on a studying path, based on Gros.
For vacationers visiting Paris in 2024, the Ministry of the Armed Forces assured that its laser weapon will not trigger an excessive amount of distraction for the general public.
“The system is quite stealthy since it does not emit light because the laser in fact is invisible,” Jean mentioned.
“It doesn’t make any noise either. It’s actually a very discreet weapon.”