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Directed Energy Weapons (DEW): Future of India’s defence

Source : Indo-Asian News Service (IANS)

Directed Energy Weapons (DEW): Future of India's defence
Artist’s impression of a French navy vessel using a laser to attack a drone. (Source: French Navy/Twitter)


New Delhi: Aiming to take India’s defence sector to another level, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is making optimal use of the facilities provided by the government.

As the world is moving towards laser-based weapon systems, India looks up to organisations like the Centre for High Energy Systems and Sciences (CHESS) under DRDO. In India, CHESS is the nodal centre for such evolved and futuristic weapon systems.

Located in Hyderabad, CHESS is a defence lab under DRDO.

According to reports, CHESS conducts research and works on High Energy Laser Systems. The organisation has been experimenting with Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) in an attempt to modernise the defence technology of the nation.

These systems destroy hostile targets using laser technology. Any hostile object, whether it is a drone, enemy boat or mortar, that comes in contact with a high-energy laser gets destroyed. In layman’s terms, DEWs are capable of destroying or damaging the target temporarily or permanently by focusing high-energy beams or lasers. The application of systems developed by CHESS includes neutralising targets such as personnel, missiles, drones, vehicles and optical devices on land, air or water, reported All India Radio.

Given India’s security concerns, DEWs will play an essential role, especially at a time when our neighbouring countries are also experimenting with such weaponry. DEWs are the weapons of the future. CHESS is working on both the Hard Kill and Soft Kill parts of these weapon systems which will enable the country to better engage with threats. These systems will provide India with strategic and operational superiority over its adversaries, the report stated.

In a conversation with PBNS, Ravi Shankar, a scientist at CHESS, said that DRDO has a tie-up with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for mass production of these defence systems as it is only an R&D organisation.

“Currently, the defence systems developed by CHESS are employed with Army Air Defence, National Security Guard (NSG) and Special Protection Group (SPG),” said Ravi Shankar at FICCI’s event β€˜Making India a Global Drone Hub’.

DRDO has been working in this domain for the past few years to develop weapon systems of up to 100 kilowatts of power for short, medium and long ranges. These high-powered DEWs can quietly incapacitate enemy missiles or drones without leaving any physical evidence or debris.

Russia, France, Germany, the UK, Israel and China are few of the countries that are working and have robust programmes to develop DEWs or Laser Directed Energy Weapons. DEWs are being used by various militaries as a force multiplier and India is also making simultaneous efforts to keep up with the requirements of modern-day warfare.

India’s DEW development includes DURGA II (Directionally Unrestricted Ray-Gun Array), which is a 100 kilowatt, lightweight directed-energy system. This weapon system will be integrated with the Indian Army and any other platform on land, air or water bodies.

There are many projects in progress related to DEWs under DRDO’s sleeves. Some of the projects are Kilo Ampere Linear Injector (KALI), Project Aditya and Air Defence Dazzlers.

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