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.
Directed energy weapons are unaffected by wind and gravity, and travel in a straight path and can defeat combatants with negligible risks and a high-winning probability. Energy strikes have become an inevitable need due to the fact that they provide indirect attack capabilities in complex terrains, on reverse slopes, and urban areas. To cope with the increasing demand of lethal and precise weapons, the defense departments of various countries are focusing on directed energy weapons.
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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.”
Also, India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) have recently planned to develop high-powered laser weapons technology to shoot missiles down; however this program is still in the developing stage. India is developing a series of directed energy weapons (DEW) to improve anti-ballistic missile capability. By 2020, India will emerge with all revolutionized weapons and a strong defense system.
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.
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The directed energy weapon market is on a significant upswing. The reason for the growing interest in directed-energy systems is that there has been considerable progress in developing relevant technologies over the past two decades, from power sources to beam-control concepts to pointing and tracking techniques. Also the directed-energy weapons have unique characteristics that potentially enable new concepts of military operation.
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