Turkish defense industry engineers successfully tested the first prototype of the High Power Laser Weapons System similar to the U.S.-developed Laser Weapon System, or LaWS, according to a Turkish daily on Monday.
Research and development efforts started a year ago through a partnership including Aselsan, The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, or TUBITAK, and Bilkent University with a budget of $120 million.
The first prototype successfully destroyed the target without being affected by the movements of the platform on which it was installed. The tests were carried out in TUBITAK’s laboratories over the past few days.
Turkish companies have constantly posted healthy export growth figures in recent years, in line with progress in locally developed defense systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles, the T129 attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter and other light weapons.
Turkish aerospace and defense companies increased exports 18.7 percent to $1.64 billion in 2014 compared with $1.45 billion in 2013, according to a statement by the Turkish Exporters Assembly.
“It is not a surprise for us to see aggressive growth in defense exports and we expect to see similar growth in the short and medium term,” Ahmet Kesoglu, a Business Development Specialist from Frost Sullivan, said in a written statement.
“The Turkish defense market could achieve similar growth rates by sustaining research and development investments, penetrating new markets like Africa and commercializing recent projects like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and light weapons," he added.
The first laser system used in military and defense was developed by the United States Navy and was installed on the USS Ponce to be used against drones, helicopters and small patrol boats.
Its usage started from December 2014 after the navy reported the Laser Weapon System worked perfectly.