‘World-leading’ laser beam that travels at speed of light to be fitted on Royal Navy ships by 2027

A new British military laser could be rushed on to the front line in Ukraine to take down Russian drones, Grant Shapps has suggested.

The DragonFire weapon, which is expected to be ready for deployment by 2027 at the latest, could have “huge ramifications” for the conflict in Europe, the defence secretary said.

New reforms aimed at speeding up procurement mean the laser, originally set to be rolled out in 2032, will now be operational five years earlier than planned, according to the Ministry of Defence.

Laser-directed energy weapons (LDEWs) use an intense light beam to cut through their target and can strike at the speed of light.