China has developed an anti-terror laserbeam cannon that can shoot down drones and small aircraft with 100 percent accuracy from more than a mile away.
The official word is that the weapon's aim is to protect major public gathering from drone attack, but China watchers say it’s more likely part of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s push to build up and strengthen the arsenal of the country's 2.3 million-strong armed forces, especially now as it is involved in disputes with neighboring countries over ownership of waters in the East and South China Seas.
The announcement of the anti-drone laser comes hot on the heels of a usually supportive State media questioning China’s military preparedness. A front page article in China's official military newspaper last month carried a front page article saying that weaknesses identified within the military posed a threat to the country's ability to win wars.
Over recent months China has announced the development of new stealth jets and aircraft carrier.
According to reports, the new laser weapon can hit a drone travelling at up to 110mph at 1,600 feet, within five seconds of identifying it.
The Low Altitude Sentinel anti-drone weapons system was developed by the China Academy of Engineering Physics.
The academy's Yi Jinsong says, “Intercepting such drones is usually the work of snipers and helicopters, but their success rate is not as high and mistakes with accuracy can result in unwanted damage.”
Andrew Davies, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says, “Whether you can shoot down a maneuvering, robust drone with a hard surface, perhaps with heat dissipation designed in, is something I'm not sure about, but it's at least plausible.”
The U.S has its own laser weapon technology, and has recently been testing a prototype weapon on a naval vessel to target drones and small aircraft.