According to the market research report "Directed Energy Weapon Market Forecast and Analysis by Technology (HEL, HPM, Particle Beam), Product (Lethal, Non-Lethal), Application (Defense, Homeland Security) & by Geography (North America,Europe, Latin America, APAC, Middle East) - Global Forecasts and Analysis to 2013-2020" , published by MarketsandMarkets, the directed energy weapon market is projected to cross $18.42 Billion by 2020, growing at a high CAGR from 2013 to 2020.
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The directed energy weapon market started developing from the 2003 Iraq War. These weapons produce a beam of electromagnetic energy that disables or destroys target by transferring its energy in to the target. It operates at the speed of light and can be lethal or non-lethal depending on the technology used. Two types of technologies are currently being weaponized: High Energy Lasers and High Power Microwaves. Lasers are vastly used as directed energy weapons which overheat targets and destroy them completely. Microwaves are radio frequency weapons which destroy the electronics of the target and disable it.
Directed energy weapons have several advantages over conventional weapons. These weapons transmit beam at the speed of light (3x108 m/s) and are not affected by the effects of gravity and atmosphere. These weapons have applications in defense as well as in homeland security. These are very precise and have the potential to replace conventional munitions. However, these weapons have few drawbacks; microwave beams are absorbed by conductive material between the weapon and target and the laser beams are weakened by water vapor, dust and other obscurants.
It is estimated that High Energy Laser (HEL) weapons will dominate the total directed energy weapon market in coming years. High Power Microwave (HPM) weapons will also show significant growth in the near future. The directed energy weapons market in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East region will grow at the highest CAGR.
China is the major player in directed energy weapons. India is currently focusing on developments of such weapons. As APAC countries are facing internal and external threats as well as threats from terrorists, the region has to have strong defense inventories. These recent conflicts between countries in the APAC region are driving procurements and investments in the inventories of APAC. In the future, APAC laser weapons could be carried by three services' platforms, such as the Air Force's transport planes, fighters and the Navy's destroyers and submarines.
The directed energy weapon market in China will be the largest after a few years. China is developing anti-laser defenses because protection against them is considered far cheaper than creating competing laser weapons themselves. A recent study says that China’s system has shot a laser beam that destroyed the guidance systems and caused the projectile to fall harmlessly to the ground. The study also noted that Beijing had conducted tests of its new technology since August 1999, and said the system was similar to the laser defense system technology being developed by the U.S. Air Force.”
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