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Really important news often goes unnoticed. They occur, no one notices them, but the events mentioned in this news often have consequences that later, having developed to a large scale, make observers gasp - and it’s good, if only out of surprise.
On August 4, 2019, one of these events occurred, mentioned in such news, but not noticed by anyone. For the first time, a combat vehicle armed with a combat laser destroyed another combat vehicle on the battlefield. In a real war, on a real battlefield. And no one noticed.
Turkey, concerned about achieving military superiority in the region, as well as gaining qualitative advantages in military power over Greece and Russia (and, apparently, also over Israel), has long and seriously invested in innovative weapon systems, including weapons on new technical principles. In the early 2010s, the Turkish company Savtag demonstrated experimental samples of plants of different capacities, starting from 1.25 kW, and then up to 50 kW. The systems were created in conjunction with Tubitak, a state research institute. The Turks showed these systems as technology demonstrators and did not particularly hide the fact that they plan to use these developments as weapons.
For operators of the UAE-owned UAV Wing Loong II, a Chinese-made aircraft, this was an ordinary reconnaissance and combat mission. Their drone armed with an anti-tank missile barraged over the Misurata area, conducting reconnaissance in the interests of Haftar’s troops and looking for targets that could be destroyed by a direct attack. The war in Libya has long taken the form of a bizarre mixture of the actions of irregular formations and weapons, created on the basis of the most advanced technologies, and UAVs were one of the symbols of such a mixture. The departure, however, ended with the UAV being shot down. And soon the world flew around the photo.
The details immediately became known. The Turkish installation, which shot down the UAV, is mounted on the chassis of an off-road armored car. Like the earlier Aselsan model, it is equipped with a Turkish-made optoelectronic guidance system. The system allows you to accurately inspect the target for firing, to select a vulnerable point, and then hold the laser marker on this point until the target is completely destroyed. Also, as with the previously demonstrated laser gun, a continuous radiation mode is provided, without long interruptions to the "pumping" of the laser. The power of the gun is 50 kW. This is so far the most powerful combat laser in the Turkish ground combat vehicle.
An important point is not an experimental setup. This is a fully functional combat vehicle armed with a laser gun. And she had just been tested in battle, and not at all against the "commercial" drone with E-bay. Such a gun could well bring down an unarmored helicopter, and easily. And Turkey can build such weapons in large quantities without any problems - now. And this is a tactical weapon, it does not need any special transportation conditions, a laser-armed combat vehicle has the same level of mobility as any other armored car of the same type. Ordinary soldiers, including conscripts, may well use these weapons. And the cost of firing this gun in the literal sense of the word is equal to the price of diesel fuel spent during the shooting. Let's just say, an unarmored helicopter takes about twenty-five rubles, approximately.
Will this episode be the start of a "laser weapon race"? Let's make a prediction: no, it won't. The epoch-making news, as they say, did not thunder. Well, who are the Turks in the world of war industry, right? The Turks will continue to improve their weapons, and no one will pay attention to them. And so it will be until, in some other war, Turkish laser guns on armored personnel carriers and tanks massively burn optoelectronic sights to enemy vehicles, burn engines for unarmored vehicles, shoot down helicopters and UAVs, and disable aircraft on the ground with long-distance, mowing infantry without noise and external unmasking signs. And then it’s all startled ...