India’s DRDO will work on the development of Directed energy weapons like high energy lasers and high powered microwaves. Directed-energy weapon development will be a part of the national program which will have short, medium, and long term goals. Recently DRDO has deployed its anti-drone system on the occasion of 74th independence day in the PM’S security. Anti-drone system with DEW i.e a 10kw laser which can engage aerial targets up to 1-2.5km range. DRDO will develop variants of DEW’S up to 100kw with the help of the domestic industry. DRDO is supposed to be working on various DEW projects such as chemical oxygen-iodine and high power fiber laser and secretive weapon KALI to take down hostile missiles and aircraft.
- Directed energy weapons include high energy lasers, electromagnetic rail guns, and high power microwaves or ultra-wideband weapons. the key features of directed energy weapons include its ability to counter fast. maneuvering missiles, precision response, and graded response.
- A DEW is a ranged weapon that damages incoming missiles, vehicles, and optical devices with highly focused energy, including laser, microwave, and particle beam.
- Most of the directed energy weapon is still undergoing experimental stages but for the first time in 2019 turkey destroyed a combat vehicle on a battlefield in Libya with a laser weapon.
- Turkey claimed to use the ALKA DEW. It is a dual electromagnetic/Laser weapon that was first unveiled in 2019. it has an effective firing range of 500mmm with laser and 1000m with electromagnetic destruction.
- Russia, China, USA are working on the development of directed energy weapons. In 1959 Russia claimed that they have developed a microwave power anti-ballistic missile system.
- US Navy recently successfully tested a laser weapon that can destroy aircraft mid-flight. Lockheed Martin has announced the development of a pod-based directed energy laser weapon system.
- Laser pod will be integrated on an aircraft and the pod named “Tactical airborne laser weapon system(TALWS) is seen mounted on F-16 in a video released by Lockheed Martin and neutralizes incoming enemy missiles with lasing.
- DRDO in 2018 successfully tested a laser system.DRDO conducted a successful test of a truck-mounted laser system. The laser beam hit a target that is located 250 meters away and it took 36 seconds for it to make a hole in the metal sheet.
- DRDO in the next step will test a high powered truck mounted laser of 2kw against a target located at a distance of 1 km. LASTEC has developed a 10kw chemical oxygen-iodine laser and is working on a vehicle-mounted 30-100 kW Chemical oxygen-iodine laser. LASTEC is also working on a project Aditya under which it is developing gas dynamic high power laser-based DEW.
- KALI or Kilo Ampere Linear Ejector is another DEW being developed by DRDO and Bhabha Atomic Research Center. It emits powerful pulses of electrons. The Weaponsisng of this will ensure the destruction of incoming missiles and aircraft by destroying the electronic circuit on board.
- China has developed a mobile laser defense system LW-30, it uses a high energy laser beam to neutralize hostile targets such as guided bombs, shells, and drones.
- US Airforce has used Raytheon built high energy laser to destroy small drones. as the proliferation of UAV and increasing threats due to these small drones, the DEW is being developed against these drones.
- DEW can be effectively used to destroy incoming ballistic missiles in mid-flight. These kinds of systems are gaining significant importance as the countries are rapidly developing ballistic missiles so DEW can act as the best defense system against ballistic missiles.
- DEW in the coming years is going to play a critical role in countering hypersonic missiles, as DEW provides high-speed reaction time and DEW is likely to become the core part of the defense system against hypersonic missiles.
- Northrop Grumman Corporation of USA has been awarded a contract by the USA air force research lab for the development f a new laser system that will protect its fifth-generation fighters against incoming missiles.
- DEWs Could have a major deterrence capability and it will be very crucial for Indian armed forces to engage hostile missiles and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.DEW is likely to play an important role in deciding the outcome of the war in the near time. DEW is considered cheaper to operate than conventional weapons. It has its application in space warfare as the lasers travel at the speed of light and have near-infinite range.
- DEW showcase the most disruptive technologies that can be adapted for military use. DEW with extremely high accuracy provides instantaneous target engagement at long ranges. But there are still many challenges on the way for the deployment of these weapons on a battlefield as a large amount of energy is required for its operation.