The Royal Navy is revving its engines to deploy the revolutionary DragonFire laser weapon system on its warships by 2027, a significant acceleration from the initial 2032 schedule.

This move, announced by the British government last Friday, April 12, underscores the urgency to counter the growing menace of drone and missile attacks, particularly in volatile regions like the Red Sea.

Responding to a Growing Threat

The announcement comes amidst heightened concerns about the proliferation of aerial threats.

The recent deployment of HMS Diamond and HMS Richmond in Operation Prosperity Guardian highlighted this vulnerability.

While the destroyers successfully employed Sea Viper and Sea Ceptor missile systems against Houthi rebel drones and missiles, the Royal Navy acknowledges the need for a multifaceted defense strategy.

“Noting the quantity and varied sophistication of air and missile threats seen in the Southern Red Sea,” Captain Matt Ryder, Head of Above Water Battlespace in the Royal Navy’s Develop Directorate, explained how this alone can make a compelling case for laser weapons.

Ryder added that the DragonFire offers a crucial “additional layer of defense,” with the potential for “much lower cost per shot” and the elimination of constraints imposed by limited onboard missile storage.