Turkey successfully tested a ground-based combat laser with the designation ARMOL. This was announced by Turkish Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank in a video published on Twitter.
TÜBİTAK BİLGEM’in tasarlayıp geliştirdiği milli lazer silahı ARMOL kabul testlerini başarıyla geçerek Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri envanterine girmeye hak kazandı. 🇹🇷#MilliTeknolojiHamlesi pic.twitter.com/5avGCqUMZZ
— Mustafa Varank (@varank) September 29, 2019
“The national laser gun ARMOL has passed acceptance tests successfully and has been qualified to enter Turkish Armed Forces’ inventory.”
The laser had perforated a steel sheet, destroyed an explosive charge and brought a small drone from the sky, wrote Varank.
ARMOL was developed at the Informatics and Information Security Research Center of TUBTAK, a national agency playing a leading role in the creation of a science and technology culture in Turkey, successfully completed acceptance tests. 1.25-kilowatt laser gun is able to damage three-millimeter steel plate at a 500-meter range.
The 400-kilogram (around 880 pound) laser system, for which studies started in July 2018, is planned to be integrated into aircraft.
TUBITAK is also developing other laser weapons, including a 20 kilowatt laser gun.
In early September, there were reports that Turkey carried out the first ever use of a weaponized laser in a combat situation.
According to reports, a weaponized laser shot from a combat vehicle destroyed a Chinese Wing Loong II drone, used by the UAE to carry out reconnaissance for Haftar’s Libyan National Army. The Turkish laser allegedly shot down the UAV in mid-flight.
“Turkey is not sufficiently recognised in the ranks of the countries-innovators in military affairs,” Alexander Timokhin wrote for Army Recognition on Monday. “But it seems that they will be able to surprise the population of the planet in this century.”
Even personnel without special training could use these new weapons, and the cost of firing the laser gun is equal to the price of diesel fuel spent during the shooting, Timokhin added. And this is big news, since Russia and the US are considered to be leaps ahead of Turkey in terms of laser technology.
“This is all the more surprising because both Russia and the United States are superior to the Turks in laser technology,” said Timokhin, adding that both do have laser weaponry in operation.
“But ground-based combat vehicles with tactical-level lasers are not being built and used in Russia or the United States. This is done by the Turks,” he added. “In the future laser arms race, the Turks have already claimed a prize for themselves.”
Combat lasers are already being tested in the armies of some countries, including the US and Russia.
“This type of weapon will decisively shape the fighting ability of the Russian army and navy throughout the 21st century,” President Vladimir Putin said in June 2019 at the presentation of the Russian combat laser Peresvet, which is expected to be operational by the end of the year.
In December 2014, the US Navy tested a laser weapon onboard the USS Ponce” – the Laser Cannon XN-1 LaWS.
Earlier this year, China introduced its combat laser system at the IDEX 2019 Defense Fair in Abu Dhabi.
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