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France likely to deploy laser weapon system to shoot drones down during 2024 Summer Olympics

France plans to charm visitors from around the world with everything that Paris has to offer during the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The latest, yet less glamorous addition to its Olympic arsenal is a laser weapon system that will shoot drones down from the sky.

The French Ministry of the Armed Forces announced in June that it has ordered one prototype of an anti-drone laser weapon system, called HELMA-P, to be deployed for the 2024 Paris Olympics.




“The HELMA-P system provides a calibrated response to the drone threat, from dazzling the drone’s observation instruments to the neutralization of a mini or micro drone (from 100g to 25kg) by altering its structure, causing it to fall in a few seconds,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Altering its structure” is a nice way to say burning a hole through any potential drone.

This prototype will also help “deepen the military’s understanding of its deployment,” as an anti-drone campaign is a priority laid out by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces for the 2019-2025 period, according to the statement.



The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that security of the Games is the responsibility of local authorities.

The HELMA-P system can shoot out powerful laser beams that heat up drones to a point where they either burn or overheat and shutdown, according to Jean, chief engineer of weaponry at the ministry’s General Directorate for Armament, in charge of developing and purchasing weapons.

Drones can be used to scan and search a given area to identify the location of potential targets. They could also be modified to carry weapons or explosives. Mini drones, which is what the French system targets, have been playing an active role on the frontline in Ukraine.

Apart from the laser unit, the anti-drone system will also include radar and radio frequency sensors to aid in locating drones. Once identified, the weapon developed by CILAS, owned by French defense giant ArianeGroup, has a one-kilometer killing range.

But employing such a powerful weapon in densely populated Paris, where visitors from around the world gather to celebrate the Olympics, brings up safety concerns.

It will be up to the team operating on the ground to determine if they should shoot down a drone or not.

Laser weapons offer other advantages, including precision and low operational cost; they don’t need munitions, which helps explain their increasing popularity among military powers such as the United States, China, France and the UK.