China has sold an early generation laser weapon to Saudi Arabia, a model of which was displayed at a recent arms exhibit in Saudi Arabia.
/ April 8, 2022
By Richard Fisher
China is making progress in fielding laser combat weapons and a laser weapon that it sold to Saudi Arabia may have conducted the first ever combat laser “kill.”
On March 30, 2022 images began to appear on Saudi Arabian twitter pages showing a charred drone, alleged to have been a rebel Houthi drone shot down by a Chinese laser weapon operated by Saudi Arabia.
Since 2015 Saudi Arabia, along with allies like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have been fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Houthis have been well armed with Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.
China has been developing laser weapons for decades and in 2016 began marketing the Poly Corporation “Silent Hunter,” a 30-kilowat mobile laser weapon that can penetrate multiple steel sheets at 1 kilometer, but is intended mainly to counter small plastic drones or swarms of drones.
While the timing of the sale has not been revealed, China has apparently sold a mobile laser weapon similar to, but possibly slightly more powerful than the Silent Hunter, called “Guorong-1” by some sources.
Images of the actual Guorong-1 and images of a model of this system were revealed after the March 3-9 World Defense Show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The model appears to show a laser combat system that combines multiple solid-state laser weapons with multiple optical targeting system plus a small radar targeting device.
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