A direct energy or DEW weapon is a weapon that uses highly focused energy, such as lasers, microwaves, or particle beams, to demolish, injure, hobble, or decapitate its target. DEW is a long-range weapon that damages its targets with highly concentrated energy. Lasers, microwaves, particle beams and other similar weapons are some contemporary examples.
Historically speakingAccording to tradition, Archimedes used mirrors to direct sunlight to destroy warships during the Roman Empire’s campaign against his hometown of Syracuse. Since then, many historians have questioned the reality of such a claim.
During World War II, the German military created weapons such as the sonic cannon, which caused deadly vibrations in the human body, causing nausea, dizziness and other symptoms. Experiments using X-rays as a basis have also been carried out to pre-ionize the ignition in aircraft engines and, therefore, serve as anti-aircraft weapons. The CIA has alleged that the Soviet military used laser-based weapons against the Chinese in numerous Sino-Soviet conflicts throughout the Cold War.
Several governments in the Asia-Pacific region are caught up in the global race to build hypersonic and directed-energy weapons, with several major powers developing or publicly announcing their ambitions. DEWs are new advanced military technologies that have yet to be officially deployed by any military power, but are expected to play an important role in future combat.
China and Russia have created unprecedented arsenals of precision-guided missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to overwhelm India’s military defenses, just as Russia is currently doing in Ukraine. Due to the magnitude of these threats, conventional kinetic systems such as Patriot missile batteries will be unable to protect US personnel in times of danger. In an attempt to defeat these threats, it will be necessary to combine non-kinetic directed energy devices such as high energy lasers with kinetic defenses.
As you might expect, China is one of the countries concentrating its efforts in both areas. It is primarily considered the market leader in hypersonic weaponry, having previously deployed hypersonic weaponry in the form of the DF-17 Hypersonic Gliding Vehicle (HGV).
At the end of 2019, the DF-17 heavyweight carried out its first public appearance during a military parade in Beijing, the Chinese capital. In its first stage, the weapon appears to use a typical ballistic missile booster to accelerate a glider craft, which is then used to strike a target after re-entry. In a parade, the DF-17s were installed on a motorized five-axle transporter-erector-launcher. As a result, the unit, like much of the People’s Liberation Army’s ballistic missile armament, is road mobile, making it possible and deadly to use it at strategic opponents’ points.
The development of the DEWs is seen as particularly crucial in India’s deteriorating security situation, especially its ties with China. According to Indian security experts, as technology advances in India’s neighborhood, the country could become exposed. They also suggest that India consider developing combat capabilities in this area. Given the growing security momentum in the Indo-Pacific and beyond, many major countries, including India, should step up their efforts to acquire these weapons.
The recent military conflict in eastern Ladakh reminds us of China’s threats to India. Beijing’s growing military power, including capabilities in space, cyber and electronic warfare, can significantly threaten its adversaries, including India. DEW technologies are also developed in China. As a result, India is undoubtedly building its own DEWs. âDEWs are extremely crucial today,â said Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy, head of DRDO. noticed at the 12th Air Chief Marshal LM Katre Memorial Lecture in August 2021. âThe rest of the world is chasing them. We are also conducting many experiments in the country. he further concluded by briefly highlighting India’s focus on DEWs. Later in December 2021, the Defense Research and Development Organization of India (DRDO) also announced plans to build Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) based on high energy lasers and microwaves.
Further consolidating these claims, the Ministry of Defense spear its second edition of India’s “Technology Outlook and Capability Roadmap” in 2018, showcasing 200 technologies and concepts slated for introduction into the armed forces in the mid-2020s. Energyâ for the Army and Air Force was among the ventures companies were encouraged to adopt.
The ministry envisioned a laser weapon system mounted on high mobility vehicles that could “cause physical damage/destruction to [electronic warfare] systems, communication networks, quasi-communication systems/radar and their antennasâ. The weapon is expected to eventually have a base range of 20 kilometers, target lock-on technology and the potential to operate as anti-satellite weaponry from ground and air stations.
In the same vein, India has established a linear electron accelerator system dubbed KALI, or “linear kiloampere injector”, to neutralize long-range missiles. KALI is believed to rapidly dissipate the hard-hitting Relativistic Electron Beam (REB) pulses that can destroy onboard communications components once a missile launch is spotted. Together, DRDO and BARC worked to create KALI (BARC). Dr. R. Chidambaram, then director of BARC, recommended it in 1985. According to reports, construction of the project began in 1989. A KALI-5000 high-power pulsed particle accelerator was operational with an energy of 650 keV and an electron beam power of 40 GW, the BARC chief said during a speech at BARC Foundation Day in 2004.
Also, tactically speaking what is more available as disclosed and non-confidential knowledge in public portals, according to the Congress Report, under its Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle project, India is developing an indigenous dual-capability (conventional and nuclear) hypersonic missile system. It experimentally validated a Mach 6 scramjet in June 2019 and September 2020. “India has about 12 hypersonic wind tunnels which can test speeds of up to Mach 13,” the report said.
Later in 2021, India finally joined the elite nations that successfully trialled the High Speed ââTechnology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV) using a locally produced propulsion system. The successful test represented an essential step in the establishment of hypersonic delivery systems, including the construction of a carrier vehicle for cruise missiles and the low-cost launch of satellite systems.
The DRDO is also believed to be making progress on a hypersonic anti-ship missile identified as the BrahMos-II. According to a to researchthe hypersonic scramjet technology is expected to reach speeds twice as fast as the BrahMos-1, exceeding Mach 6.
India undertook two major missile launches in the last months of 2021. The launch of the Shaurya hypersonic weaponry, which took place in October, was the first. The Agni-P missile test, which took place on Christmas night, was the second. The two missile tests show that India is on track to develop a more advanced nuclear arsenal with a wider range of propulsion systems. These achievements have elicited an outpouring of reactions, ranging from glee at the improved readiness of India’s arsenal to gloomy predictions about what these missile developments could mean for geopolitical stability, primarily between India, China and Pakistan.
India’s missile arsenal is improving to deter and deter the People’s Republic of China Army. India’s skills at the time were far inferior to India’s. Beijing has deployed its Dong-Feng (DF)-26 IRBMs in Xinjiang Province, western China. The Chinese DF-17 heavyweight, with an approximate range of 1,800 to 2,500 km, is a significant threat. Beijing is said to have been doing this since at least 2019, which is also a retaliation against India. Shaurya hypersonic weaponry. Due to its limited geography, Pakistan is particularly susceptible to strategic interception compared to China’s geographic and strategic depth. Either way, Beijing’s underwater nuclear weapons provide it with a nigh-invulnerable second-strike capability, complicating India’s counterforce operations against Chinese nuclear targets. As a result, India’s hypersonic arsenal, Agni SRBM and IRBM warheads maintain strategic deterrence and improve its position in the geopolitical balance of South Asia.
DEWs and hypersonic missile systems, in my view, should indeed be seen as part of a larger global military technological evolution. Directed energy weapons will redefine the way targets are captured and attacked in the years to come, just as electronic technology has improved the speed and accuracy of information flow. Once the technological hurdles described above are resolved, the future of this technology could have near endless potential when it comes to engaging aerial targets like missiles or drones.
DRDO’s purpose and budget allocations are primarily to establish and then operate DEWs limited to land-based assignments. As a result, India may not be able to produce the full range of DEW. Despite their current technological limitations, the DRDO and the administration will need to recognize which direct energy weapons are sustainable over the long term.
The Chinese are rapidly developing and deploying DEWs for attack and defense purposes. India will not be able to rely solely on defensive qualities to secure and safeguard its troops and equipment; it will also require aggressive DEW capabilities, which may be minor but would require intensive and considerable attention.
Many industry experts believe that directed energy weapons will lead to new forms of lethal and non-lethal engagements in the long term. This, however, would be entirely determined by what is defined as âappropriateâ. Despite decades of research into the practical applications of direct energy weapons, they are still believed to be experimental, although a few prototypes have been declared functional by some nations.
While the lack of a functioning hypersonic missile defense system makes these capabilities attractive, research shows significant hurdles to overcome, such as the propulsion system and the intense heat generated by these weapon systems. G Satheesh Reddy, the head of the DRDO, had said that achieving a full working weapons system for some benefit would take about four to five years.
Although it is apparently commonly accepted that India’s ballistic system and hypersonic missile armaments are present in numbers, there must be constant scaling to keep up with ever-changing warfare strategies and weapon systems. .