Directed Energy Weapons make use of highly focused energy including lasers, sound waves, particle beams as well as microwaves to damage their target. Countries like Iran and Turkey claim to have directed energy weapons as a part of their active force. While, countries including India, China, Germany, the UK, France, and Russia are presently developing directed energy grade weapons.
Amongst the mentioned nations, China is noted to be an emerging power station in terms of weapons systems. The country has been making efforts in developing directed energy weapons. Chinese state media has also released evidence stating the ownership of handheld and vehicle-mounted laser systems. A handheld destructive laser weapon to be used for domestic crowd control was noted as a part of the images and videos released by the Chinese state media. Increased border tensions between India and China are poised to be one of the key factors that boost investment in directed energy weapon research. A Chinese academic claimed that the PLA made use of microwave weapons to incapacitate Indian troops during last year’s stand-off between the two nations. However, this source has not been independently verified.
As stated, India is also one of the key contenders in the hypersonic and directed energy weapons race. According to the 2018 edition of the Technology Perceptive and Capability Roadmap released by the MOD, roughly 200 pieces of equipment were to be inducted into the forces. One of the projects to be pursued was noted to be Tactical High Energy. Laser System for the Indian Army and Air Force. As per the defense budget 2021-2022, it is noted that the DRDO has requested an investment of roughly USD 100 Million for their research to produce a high-power laser weapon. The Indian Army will get the 100-kilowatt, lightweight directed-energy system under the DURGA II (Directionally Unrestricted Ray-Gun Array) initiative, according to a service official. Roughly 50 defense scientists from the DRDO have been charged with the development of directed energy weapons. DRDO also aims on initiating work within the non-nuclear electromagnetic weapons domain. The ambitious Directed Energy Weapon (DEWs) ADITYA program of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is taking a huge step ahead in making India a great military force by harnessing the potential of lasers and microwaves.
The first account for the use of directed energy weapons was stated to be in Libya in 2019 by Turkey. The Turkish forces claimed to have used the ALKA-directed energy weapon which is a dual electromagnetic/laser weapon developed by Rokestan.
The overall competitive mapping for the directed energy weapons market can be classified along the segments-Region, Technology, and Platform. Increased modernization and investment across various military platforms are noted to be one of the key drivers for this market. The growing number of international conflicts is noted to be one of the key factors that are anticipated to drive procurement across the global markets. Legal restrictions on laser-based weapons are expected to be one of the key market restraints for directed energy weapon systems. DEWs are not defined authoritatively under international law, and they are not now on the agenda of any existing multilateral institution. Nonetheless, directed energy weapons are subject to several legal frameworks. Low-energy laser weapon systems, which might be employed for anti-personnel reasons, are one of the most disputed subjects in the military. The use of blinding weapons was prohibited by a United Nations resolution in 1995 (Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (1995), appended to the framework Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)).
The increased complexity of directed energy weapons is regarded as a key technological challenge within this vertical. On studying the global mapping for this market, it is noted that the Asia Pacific accounts for the fastest-growing segment owing to the presence of countries like India, China, and South Korea.