The Russian Defense Ministry have released stunning video footage of Peresvet combat laser systems entering test service, shedding a bit more light on the cutting-edge weapon. A short one-minute video shows the laser system “getting on test duty” outside Teikovo, a town west of Moscow. The system slowly comes out of a hangar and ejects a barrel-shape device, presumably a laser lens. The camera then quickly films Peresvet’s control room and an operator handling the system by remote control.
The Peresvet, also known as Russian Mobile Laser Weapon, is a new high energy laser weapon system unveiled by President Putin on March 1, 2018. The laser weapon system was already operational within the Russian Army but has not received an official military designation yet. The name was chosen by Russian citizens after a round of online voting. Alexander Peresvet was “a famous warrior monk who fought at the 1380 Battle of Kulikovo, which ended the Mongol domination of medieval Russia. The most likely use of this weapon is to counter unmanned air vehicles (UAV), cruise missiles and other low speed aircraft flying at low altitude. The laser beam is generated at the end of the carrier vehicle which features a sort of steerable laser cannon.
No further details were released about this weapon but the laser system itself may be powered by a small nuclear powerplant similar to the one used on the Poseidon nuclear torpedo and the Burevestnik global cruise missile. In July 2018 the new details emerged about the Peresvet purpose which may consist on blinding electro-optical sensors onboard surveillance Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and unmanned aircraft. The Peresvet is being deployed on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) within Russian territory. In the event of an ICBM launch the laser system might be employed to blind space based assets from registering the launch. Besides, the system can be employed to engage the guidance system of several types of missiles that are based upon image matching to identify their targets.
Russia’s Army has received its first laser combat weapon. The Peresvet high-energy laser weapon was declared operational on December 1, 2018. Key details about the laser, including its power and even purpose are still a mystery, with Moscow declaring it is “not time yet” for details. Peresvet firing units began being delivered to Russian Army units in 2017. The weapons appear trailer-mounted, normally concealed inside an armored shroud. The system looks similar to the U.S. Navy’s Laser Weapon System (LaWS) which went to sea on the warship USS Ponce in 2017.