The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working on Directed energy weapons or DEWs as part of ongoing efforts to modernize defence technology according to DRDO Chairman G. Satheesh Reddy.
Laser-based or microwave-based high-power DEWs can easily incapacitate almost all ariel targets like drones, missiles and other targets without leaving any physical debris.
Dr Reddy, who is Secretary, Department of Defence R&D, said DEWs would play a major role in future warfare. “DEWs are extremely important today. The world is moving towards them. In the country too, we are doing a lot of experiments. We have been working in this area for the past three to four years to develop 10-kW and 20-kW [weapons],” he said.
Dr. Reddy said technology planning for the defence should start at least 10-20 years in advance. “If we also have to be a technology leader we need to lay our futuristic technologies roadmap clearly, put a good amount of resources into it and also work towards those technologies. Otherwise, we will remain just technology followers,” he said, delivering the 12th annual Air Chief Marshal L.M. Katre memorial lecture.
A directed-energy weapon (DEW) is designed to burn its target with highly focused energy, including laser, microwaves and particle beams. Potential applications of this technology include weapons that target personnel, missiles, vehicles, and optical devices.
After decades of R&D, directed-energy weapons are still at the experimental stage and it remains to be seen if or when they will be deployed as practical, high-performance military weapons. Only the US, China, Russia, the UK and India are known to be developing directed-energy weapons. China is not only developing laser weapons but also working on countermeasures to evade them.