Raytheon to open defensive weapon centre in Scotland

Maker of high-energy laser weapon systems reveals plans to open key regional base in Scotland

Raytheon's Integrated Defence Systems centre in Woburn, Massachusetts, in the US. AP
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Raytheon is to establish the first Advanced Laser Integration Centre in Livingston, Scotland, the company announced at this year's Farnborough International Airshow.

Raytheon’s new base in Scotland will host its European centre for the testing, fielding and maintenance of defensive high-energy weapons, which counter unmanned systems such as drones.

The company has set up the regional centre as it has licences to export configurations of its high-energy laser technology in the UK and throughout Europe.

It expects the demand for high-energy weapons is likely to increase, providing a significant boost to local employment.

“Notwithstanding the war in Ukraine, many conflict zones in the world today are seeing asymmetric threats, most notably from unmanned aerial vehicles such as drones,” said Harry Boneham, aerospace analyst at GlobalData.

“For example, Houthi forces in Yemen have frequently used drones to target critical infrastructure such as airports and energy facilities.

“There is a distinct tactical imperative for effective methods of countering unmanned systems.

"Lasers are a cost-effective counter-measure, and the technology needed to create these directed-energy weapons is no longer a pipedream. It is here now."

The centre in Scotland will support the UK Ministry of Defence’s directed-energy weapons systems to counter unmanned aircraft.

In 2021, Raytheon UK was awarded a demonstrator contract to provide a high-energy laser weapon system to the UK, intended to be installed on the British Wolfhound land vehicle.

As part of the UK’s Integrated Review, Raytheon expects to gain further procurements from the Ministry for the capabilities and the plant in Scotland makes the company a strong candidate for further contracts.

Updated: July 20, 2022, 6:59 AM