MBDA Deutschland has announced the development of the cutting-edge Modular Integrated Laser Optic System (MILOS). This groundbreaking laser system is poised to revolutionize the German military’s capabilities and will play a pivotal role in enhancing national defense. The journey towards the realization of the MILOS began back in 2008 when MBDA Deutschland initiated a development roadmap. This roadmap consisted of several vital milestones, including proof-of-concept demonstrations, system studies, and the development of critical technologies in 2010. By 2016, the company had validated these technologies and concepts, leading to the creation of system demonstrators for both naval and land applications. One of the most crucial phases in the MILOS development process occurred in 2022 when the system was rigorously tested in operational environments. The testing took place at the Bundeswehr’s Wehrtechnische Dienststelle für Waffen und Munition (WTD) 91 weapon and ammunition technical center in Meppen.
During these tests, MILOS demonstrated its impressive capabilities by engaging various targets, including door knobs, wire mesh fences, barbed wire, metal plates, and quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Remarkably, the system exhibited remarkable accuracy and versatility while engaging targets at ranges between 25 meters and 420 meters, with the potential to deliver up to 10 kW of power. The focus of this campaign centered on the dismounted version of the MILOS system, known as MILOS-D. MILOS-D, with its medium-range 5 kW laser, is expected to become operational starting in 2027. However, this is just one part of the MILOS family of laser effectors. The family also includes the short-range 1.5 kW MILOS-P (portable), a 20 kW long-range remote/integrated version, and an impressive 60 kW integrated version suitable for mounting on vehicles. Together, these laser effectors form a formidable laser engagement chain that starts with radar-based detection, pre-classification, and multi-stage tracking, leading to active target illumination and, finally, engagement and kill assessment.
Furthermore, MBDA Deutschland is set to unveil its funded laser weapon demonstrator (LWD) 2024, building on the success of the High-Energy Laser Naval Demonstrator developed in collaboration with Rheinmetall. The LWD 2024, a modular, reduced footprint, and more capable laser weapon, promises to mark a significant leap in laser weapon technology. This innovation has the potential to be integrated into existing systems, possibly replacing RAM launchers or medium-caliber air defense guns on board naval vessels. While the Bundeswehr has not yet made its final selection, MBDA has been actively developing an integrated system module, ready to be installed for naval applications. The LWD 2024 is anticipated to be fully operational by late 2023, with preparation trials and fine-tuning activities set to follow.
The company aims to present this groundbreaking system to the German Ministry of Defense by mid-next year. In addition to its naval applications, MBDA Deutschland is also focusing on the land applications of its laser effector demonstrator, striving to further miniaturize components and reduce mass to meet the specific requirements of its land-based customers. The development and testing of the Modular Integrated Laser Optic System (MILOS) represent a significant step forward in the German Army’s efforts to enhance its defense capabilities, and MBDA Deutschland is leading the charge in the field of laser weapon technology. With the imminent arrival of the LWD 2024 and ongoing innovations, Germany is poised to maintain its cutting-edge position in the realm of laser-based defense systems.