Directed energy weapons or DEWs are among the next bunch of military technologies that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working on, Organisation Chairman G. Satheesh Reddy said on Sunday.
Laser-based or microwave-based high-power DEWs can quietly disable enemy drones or missiles temporarily or permanently without leaving physical debris. In contrast, the ASAT or anti-satellite missile that the DRDO tested on March 27, killed an orbiting Indian target satellite and left hundreds of small pieces as debris for a few months.
Dr. Reddy, who is Secretary, Department of Defence R&D, said DEWs would play a major role in future warfare. “DEWs are extremely important today. The world is moving towards them. In the country too, we are doing a lot of experiments. We have been working in this area for the past three to four years to develop 10-kW and 20-kW [weapons],” he said.
Hyderabad hub ::
The DRDO’s Hyderabad-based lab, Centre for High Energy Systems and Sciences (CHESS) is the node for all related activities.
Dr. Reddy said technology planning for the military should start at least 10-20 years in advance. “If we also have to be a technology leader we need to lay our futuristic technologies roadmap clearly, put a good amount of resources into it and also work towards those technologies. Otherwise we will remain just technology followers,” he said, delivering the 12th annual Air Chief Marshal L.M. Katre memorial lecture.
The talk was organised by the Air Force Association Karnataka in honour of the former air chief who also was the chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
Apart from its current fighter plane projects — the LCA and advanced medium combat aircraft or AMCA — India would look at pilotless hardware such combat drones or UCAVs (unmanned combat air vehicles), as well as swarm drones that fly in tandem for surveillance, attack or intelligence gathering. Any UCAV programme could also use the Kaveri as its engine.