Taiwan Developing Laser Armed Vehicles to Counter Chinese Drones

On March 11th, Taiwan News reported that the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology collaborated with “countries friendly to Taiwan” to successfully develop a 50-kilowatt laser cannon. This laser weapon can shoot down drones, small aircraft, and other small to medium-sized aerial threats

These laser systems are to be mounted on CM-32 Clouded Leopard armored vehicles. Final testing of the laser system is to be completed by the end of this year. Taiwanese researchers have published articles discussing the integration of laser weapon systems with the Army’s AN/TWQ-1 Avenger air defense vehicles.

Part of the danger posed by drones comes from their ability to be deployed in vast numbers and their low cost. 

Kinetic munitions are not cost-effective against drone targets. As seen in the defense against Houthi attacks on shipping, million-dollar missiles are being used to eliminate $2,000 drones. Laser-based systems are much more cost-effective, as each shot costs on average below $10, according to research done by the Israeli Defense Forces. 

China has been ramping up its production and deployment of small, medium, and large unmanned aerial vehicles, according to the South China Morning Post. 

This announcement comes as tensions between China and Taiwan are at an all-time high.