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Rheinmetall has tested the technology demonstrator version of a laser weapon built on behalf of the German Bundeswehr. The first trials with the laser testbed were conducted at Rheinmetall’s proving ground in Unterlüß as part of a Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) campaign, the company writes in a press release.

The laser testbed serves not only as a technology demonstrator laser weapon, but also as the basis for future R&D work at Unterlüß in Lower Saxony. It is designed so that all components of a future laser weapon system can be examined modularly.

Every interface to the sensors – the radar, for example – or to the energy supply and laser source are “open” designs. This makes it possible to test every conceivable combination iteratively and then to compare the results, the company emphasises.

The objective of current studies in the laser testbed is to produce a suitable configuration for a mobile technology demonstrator with a laser output of over 10 kW for integration with a BOXER AFV vehicle by the end of 2022. At present, the laser testbed consists entirely of subassemblies made by Rheinmetall. But open interface architecture makes it possible to integrate and test components from other manufacturers also.

Laser Components

The laser testbed consists of a 20-foot container divided into three compartments:

  • laser
  • operator
  • infrastructure

Encompassing five 2 kW-fibre laser modules, the laser source is installed in the laser compartment. Bundled via spectral coupling, the individual laser modules achieve a total output of 10 kW. Rough orientation of the laser weapon station is based on data from the suite of electro-optical sensors in the weapon station. 

This is ready to operate around the clock. For fine tracking, the reflection of the target irradiated by the illumination laser is evaluated in the beam guidance system and transformed into corresponding guidance signals for tracking the target. Furthermore, under conditions of functional safety, all subassemblies necessary for target engagement, such as beam status monitoring and target point control, were achieved for the first time within the optical beam path.

According to the company. during the C-UAS campaign, a variety of drone types were optically tracked and neutralised at ranges of engagement of up to one kilometre. A demonstration was subsequently carried out for representatives of the Federal Ministry of Defence and the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support. The outcome met the expectations of all participants, Rheinmetall writes.

New CFO for Rheinmetall

Dagmar Steinert, 57, has been appointed to the Executive Board of Rheinmetall,
effective 1 January 2023, Rheinmetall writes in a press release. Steinert, currently a member of the board of management of Fuchs Petrolub SE responsible for commercial operations as well as legal affairs, compliance, and digitisation, is due to succeed Helmut P. Merch, 66, as Chief Financial Officer of Rheinmetall, who retires at the end of 2022.

From 2003 to 2013, Dagmar Steinert headed the Accounting Department of Rheinmetall AG. As well as holding a degree in Business Administration from the University of Cologne, she is a certified auditor and tax advisor. Steinert began her career at various auditing and tax consultancy firms, lastly spending five years at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Following her time at Rheinmetall, she joined the MDax-listed company Fuchs Petrolub in Mannheim, initially serving as Head of Investor Relations. In 2016 she joined the company’s board of management as CFO.