The Ministry of Defence has fired the UK's first laser weapon in the Hebrides.

The DragonFire laser is a line of sight weapon which is designed to improve accuracy and reduce the armed forces' reliance on high-cost ammunition.

The MoD announced that it had achieved the first high-power firing of a laser weapon against aerial targets at a trial in the Hebrides Range which is located at various sites on South Uist, Benbecula and St Kilda.

Laser-directed energy weapons can engage targets at the speed of light, and use an intense beam of light to cut through the target, leading to structural failure or more impactful results if the warhead is targeted.

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The precise range of the DragonFire is classified, and the MoD says the cost of operating is typically less than £10 per shot.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: "This type of cutting-edge weaponry has the potential to revolutionise the battlespace by reducing the reliance on expensive ammunition, while also lowering the risk of collateral damage.

"Investments with industry partners in advanced technologies like DragonFire are crucial in a highly contested world, helping us maintain the battle-winning edge and keep the nation safe."

The latest trial was sponsored by the MOD’s Defence Science and Technology (DST) organisation and Strategic Programmes and enabled by many other agencies across government, ensuring all regulatory and safety approval requirements were satisfied.

Dstl’s Chief Executive, Dr Paul Hollinshead said: "These trials have seen us take a huge step forward in realising the potential opportunities and understanding the threats posed by directed energy weapons.

"With our decades of knowledge, skills, and operational experience, Dstl’s expertise is critical to helping the armed forces prepare for the future."