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 two-kilometre 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.
Xinhua showed pictures of large metal boxes in camouflage paint and the wreckage of a small drone, some of it burning. It 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 (112 mph), Xinhua said. It cited Yi Jinsong, a manager with China Jiuyuan Hi-Tech Equipment Corp., a firm under the academy, as saying that small-scale, unmanned drones were relatively cheap and easy to use, making them a likely choice for terrorists.