China has developed a highly accurate laser weapon system that can shoot down light drones at low altitude, state media reported.
The machine has a 1.2-mile range and can bring down “various small aircraft” within five seconds of locating its target, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing a statement by the China Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP), one of the developers, says The Guardian.com.
Xinhua showed pictures of large metal boxes in camouflage paint and the wreckage of a small drone, some of it burning.
The laser system is expected to “play a key role in ensuring security during major events in urban areas” and address concerns on unlicensed mapping activities, according to Xinhua. It is effective up to a maximum altitude of 500 metres and against aircraft flying at up to 50 metres per second (112mph), Xinhua said.
It cited Yi Jinsong, a manager with China Jiuyuan Hi-Tech Equipment Corp, as saying that small-scale, unmanned drones were relatively cheap and easy to use, making them a likely choice for terrorists.
The system, which can be installed on vehicles, shot down more than 30 drones in a recent test with a “100% success rate” said the CAEP statement.
The academy is developing similar laser security systems with greater power and range, Xinhua said in its report on Sunday.
China typically deploys tight security for domestic political meetings, international conferences and sports events, looking to prevent public protests over issues such as illegal land seizures and corruption as well as any threats to the participants.