UK scraps Type 23 frigate LDEW test plan

UK scraps Type 23 frigate LDEW test plan

Source Node: 2465380

01 February 2024

by Richard Scott

The UK MoD has cancelled earlier plans to fit an LDEW demonstrator to a Type 23 frigate. (Thales)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has dropped plans to trial a laser-directed energy weapon (LDEW) demonstrator from a Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 frigate.

Revealing the decision in a 30 January parliamentary answer, Minister of State for Defence Procurement James Cartlidge said the move was intended to free up money for the UK’s wider Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) programme. Thales had been under contract to develop the maritime LDEW demonstrator.

The UK began industry competitions in 2020 for three different DEW capability demonstrators: a maritime LDEW demonstrator under Project Tracey; a vehicle-based LDEW demonstrator named Project Swinton; and a land-based radio frequency (RF) DEW counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) prototype designated Project Ealing. The MoD in September 2021 announced that Thales UK had been selected to deliver Project Tracey and Project Ealing, while a consortium led by Raytheon UK had been contracted for Project Swinton.

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