DRDO Develops New Laser Weapons

By admin • August 9th, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi — The state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has unveiled its futuristic technology plans which involve high-powered lasers for combating incoming missiles as well as other areas of homeland security.

The DRDO’s Laser Science & Technology Centre (LASTEC) has indicated that it has been developing Directed Energy Weapons (DEWS) for the Indian Armed Forces and that it will be a crucial exercise along with space security, cyber-security and hypersonic vehicles.” LASTEC has the mandate to develop DEWs for armed forces,” said DRDO’s chief controller (electronics & computer sciences) R Sreehari Rao.

DRDO’s LASTEC is building up these technologies to compliment the efforts of the Indian Armed Forces to modernise themselves and achieve their future technology roadmap. The idea is to develop laser-based weapons, deployed on airborne as well as seaborne platforms, which can intercept missiles soon after they are launched towards India in the boost phase itself.

Elaborating on the potential of DEWS, LASTEC indicated that while conventional weapons use kinetic or chemical energy of missiles or other projectiles to destroy targets, DEWs decimate them by bombarding with subatomic particles or electromagnetic waves at the speed of sound. The collateral damage is also reduced with this method.

These futuristic technologies will also be incorporated in the Ballistic Missile Defence system being pursued by India. While all these laser-based technologies will take time to develop and be deployed, the DRDO along with LASTEC has mapped out the future course of action in these areas.

Scientists at the DRDO’s LASTEC have already completed work on a hand-held version of the laser dazzler with a range of up to 50 meters and a 25 kilowatt laser system capable of destroying enemy missiles is estimated to be completed in five years time. However, given the poor performance of the DRDO in developing crucial equipment in time, it remains to be seen if the DRDO can actually deliver. The process will involve sourcing the raw materials for high-powered lasers, manufacturing the parts and perfecting radar tracking that will allow continuous focusing on a missile cone besides other critical factors.

For starters, LASTEC is ready with hand-held laser dazzlers to disorient adversaries without collateral damage with a 50-metre range. As for the DRDO LASTEC’s future “laser” agenda, it is developing crowd-control dazzlers mounted on vehicles to dispel rioting mobs with 250-metre range. This will take two more years.

Other crucial ventures include Laser-based ordnance disposal system, which can be used to neutralise IEDs and other explosives from a distance. The trials are expected in 18 months time. Besides that, there are air defence dazzlers to take on enemy aircraft and helicopters with 10 kilometres range and will be ready in 2 years.

Finally, there is a 25-kilowatt laser systems to destroy missiles during their terminal phase with 5 to 7 kilometres range and a 100-kilowatt solid-state laser systems, which will be mounted on aircraft and ships to destroy missiles in their boost phase itself. These two systems will take five years and ten years respectively to be ready.

LASTEC scientists are also working on a vehicle-mounted “gas dynamic laser-based DEW system” under Project Aditya but it will just be a technology demonstrator to prove beam control technology. The future will be solid-state lasers which are more efficient, smaller and lighter.

Source: India Defence Online

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