Guwahati: The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is presently planning a national program on directed energy weapons (DEWs) like high-energy lasers and powerful microwaves, which are progressively being considered crucial around the globe for contactless clashes of the future.
The program will have short, medium and long term objectives, with the inevitable aim being to create diverse DEW variants of up to 100 kilowatt power, in a joint effort with the domestic industry.
The DRDO has been working on a few DEW projects for long, ranging from 'chemical oxygen iodine' and 'high-power fiber' lasers to a clandestine 'Kali' particle beam weapon for 'soft-kills' against approaching missiles and airplane.
Yet, they are not even close to becoming operational. The requirement for a focussed approach on DEWs has now gained urgency in the midst of the progressing military encounter with China in eastern Ladakh.
DRDO has so far created two anti drone DEW systems, which will presently be productionised in enormous numbers with the assistance of the industry. While one is a trailer-mounted DEW, with a 10 kilowatt laser to draw to engage aerial targets at 2-km range, the other is a minimized tripod-mounted one with a 2 kilowatt laser for a 1 km range.
The two systems can bring down micro drones by either jamming their order and control links or harming their gadgets through the laser-based DEW, officials said.
These are, however, extremely modest compared with the significantly more remarkable DEWs created by counties like the US, Russia, China, Germany and Israel to destroy multiple drone , vehicles and vessels.
The US, for example, tried a 33 kilowatt laser weapon from a warship to shoot drones a few years back. In May 2020, the US Navy tested another 'high-energy solid state laser' to disable a drone aircraft in mid-air. The US, actually, might be only four to five years away from deploying 300 to 500 kilowatt DEWs fit for shooting down cruise missiles.