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Directed Energy Weapons technology and Market trends

Directed energy refers to a technology that produces a beam of concentrated electromagnetic energy, including microwaves, radio waves, lasers, and particle beams. Some of the common product variants include high-energy laser weapons, high-power radiofrequency or microwave devices, and charged or neutral particle beam weapons. These weapons offer numerous benefits over conventional munitions, including the high-speed transmission of lethal force, minimal effects of gravity or atmospheric drag, stealth-like performance with noise-free and invisible beams, etc. As a result, directed energy weapons are widely installed in military ships, land vehicles, aircraft, and unmanned vehicles (UMVs). Potential applications of this technology include weapons that target personnel, missiles, vehicles, and optical devices.


High-powered microwave lasers have the ability to destroy targets directly or indirectly and can also target personnel or equipment not visible due to climatic conditions. High-powered microwave lasers use electromagnetic waves that can be carried on multiple platforms; these can either be built-in in cruise missiles, warheads, and unmanned airplanes or installed on a fixed platform. DEWs are used to either destroy, damage, or disable precise targets, and depending on this, can be high-powered or low-powered.


The existing DEWs are focused on serving defensive functions such as protection of critical facilities and against missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), rockets and boats. Future developments are expected to focus on further expansion of defensive functions as DEWs, particularly lasers, provide significant advantages over traditional weapons such as precision engagement, low-cost per shot, logistical benefits, and low detectability.


The cost per shot of a laser weapon is estimated to be $1, according to the US Department of Defense (DoD) and the US Navy. While high-energy lasers are effective in cases where long-distance accuracy is required, microwave weapons can be effective against a large number of targets.


The demand for DEWs is surging globally with the value of DEWs having reached $4.1bn in 2020. The US is leading in the development of DEWs globally with a market share of 41.6%, followed by China, France, Germany, and the UK. The US doubled its military expenditure on DEWs from $535m in fiscal year 2017 (FY17) to $1.1bn in FY19. The increase in investment in DEWs is expected to continue globally over the next decade.


Certain technical challenges, however, need to be addressed to develop effective DEWs, which can be affected by atmospheric absorption, scattering, and turbulence. Further, laser beams have straight trajectories, which hampers them from attacking over-the-horizon targets.


Laser Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs)

The Laser Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) offer a transformational ‘game changer’ to counter asymmetric and disruptive threats, while facing increasingly sophisticated traditional challenges. Laser technology provides major advantages for military applications over kinetic weapons due to High precision and rapid on-target effect, precise and scalable effects,  avoidance of collateral damage caused by fragmenting ammunition, Low logistics overhead and minimum costs per firing.


The  US Navy estimates the “cost per shot” of a laser at less than a dollar: missiles used for ship defense cost $800 thousand up to $15 million dollars each. Compared with conventional antimissile weapons systems in deployment, the FEL would be the most efficient and the most cost-effective.


The first new-generation laser weapon that was deployed in a combat theater was a 30-kilowatt Laser Weapon System (LaWS) deployed on USS Ponce in 2014. The system offers military leaders precision accuracy at cost as low as a dollar per shot. ONR showed off a video that disabled a small Scan Eagle-sized UAV, detonated a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), and burned out the engine of a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB).


A laser’s ability to disable a target depends in large part on the power and beam quality of its light beam. The power of the light beam is measured in kilowatts (kW) or megawatts (MW). Beam quality (BQ) is a measure of how well focused the beam is. Something on the order of 10,000 J/cm2, delivered in a sufficiently short time would be adequate to damage most targets.


Currently, countries are preparing to demonstrate tactical laser weapons with outputs of hundreds of kilowatts. These DEWs can be used in varieties of missions such as wide-area, ground-based defense against rockets, artillery, and mortars (Counter RAM); engage Low flying Aircraft and helicopters, and UAVs; They shall also enable precision strike missions for airborne platforms; and shipboard defense against cruise missiles. US Navy is planning to test a 150-kilowatt solid-state laser weapon system aboard its amphibious warships.


Lasers with power levels in the megawatts could have the ability for countering counter-manned aircraft and some missiles including supersonic ASCMs and ballistic missiles—at ranges of up to about 10 nautical miles. These future category Strategic laser weapons which can be both endo or exo-atmospheric and will be deployed on high altitude Airborne, space-based / satellite-based platforms or space relayed (Endo-atmospheric with Orbiting Relay Mirrors) for countering Tactical Ballistic Missiles (TMD) – boost phase defence, ICBMs (NMD) – boost-phase defense and Anti Satellites (ASAT).


There are two important technologies that are enabling these DEWS. One is Fiber lasers due to their many advantages like high electrical-to-optical efficiency (40%), high reliability for operation in harsh military environments, and high beam quality near-diffraction-limited light output. However, the power of state-of-the-art single-mode fiber lasers is limited by thermal and nonlinear effects like thermal lensing to ∼10kW. Second is Beam combining technologies to combine multiple low-power lasers with good beam quality into one high-power beam helps in overcoming the power limitations of fiber lasers.


In future for strategic applications Free electron lasers are good candidate as their power can be scaled up in power from 10 kW to 1 MW without any increase in the size of the system or need for a beam combiner (a component that adds to system complexity and cost).
Laser beams begin to cause plasma breakdown in the atmosphere at energy densities of around one megajoule per cubic centimetre. This effect, called “blooming,” causes the laser to defocus and disperse energy into the surrounding air. The scintillation of atmosphere also causes severe distortion or beam focusing. This requires Adaptive or deformable mirror consisting of thousands of miniature actuators that continuously predistort the beam for it to remain focused.


Laser Weapons require a beam control/fire control (BC/FC) system that tracks a target, measures range to the target, compensates for atmospheric turbulence, selects an Aimpoint (vulnerable area) on the target, focuses, and points the laser beam. A high precision target tracking system is needed and a beam pointing system having an extremely low jitter depending on the distances involved. However, Lasers are not all-weather weapons. The most important variable that affects the laser beam is the atmosphere. Lasers cannot penetrate clouds, fog, haze, sandstorms, or aerosols.


Because laser beams must be propagated through the atmosphere, they can be affected by airborne particles (dust, smoke), water vapor or atmospheric turbulence that absorb, bend or scatter laser energy. Since laser light tends to fly through the atmosphere on an essentially straight path, shipboard lasers would be limited to line-of-sight engagements, and consequently could not counter over-the-horizon targets or targets that are obscured by intervening objects.


Laser weapons on Aircrafts

Laser Weapons are now being planned for future sixth generation aircrafts that will significantly increase engagement ranges compared to ground-based systems. US Air Force Research Laboratory released a request for information (RFI) for a laser weapon that could be mounted on next-generation air dominance fighters by the 2030s.


The Air Force is interested in three categories of lasers: low-power for illuminating, tracking, targeting, and defeating enemy sensors; moderate-power for protection to destroy incoming missiles; and high-power to offensively engage enemy aircraft and ground targets. The Air Force plans to scale-up laser weapon to 150 kW and then 200 kW. A 200kW laser cannon will be able to destroy surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles apart from armored vehicles on the ground.


DARPA’s HELLADS program is developing a 150-kilowatt (kW) laser weapon system, with a weight goal of less than five kilograms per kilowatt, and volume of three cubic meters for the laser system. The weapon is planned to be deployed on AC-130 which is powered by the four Rolls-Royce T56-A-15 engines each producing 3.9 megawatts of power, enough to power a 200 kW laser weapon.


AFRL Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHIELD) integration and demonstration programs is addressing the risk of integrating on LWS onto an aerial platform. The program will develop and integrate a more compact, medium-power LWS onto a fighter-compatible pod to demonstrate effectiveness of an LWS in a relevant flight environ-ment for self-defense against ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons.


The SHiELD system has three subsystems, the beam control system SHiELD turret research in aero effects (STRAFE) that will direct the laser onto the target and laser pod research and development (LPRD), which is a pod mounted on the tactical fighter jet to power and cool the laser. It also includes the high-energy laser itself, Laser Advancements for Next-Generation Compact Environments (LANCE), which can be trained on adversary targets to disable them.


There are variety of obstacles impede the utilization of an airborne laser weapon system, several of which have been identified as being most crucial to its success or failure. Most fundamentally, it is essential to maximize laser power while reducing volume and mass, maintaining a size, weight, and power (SWaP) that offers tactical effectiveness.


Moreover, beam control systems must be adequately advanced to enable precise aiming, tracking, and pointing amidst the aero-mechanical jitter induced by vibrations during flight. Similarly, system temperature must be controlled via the dissipation of waste heat, and high-speed aerodynamic flow must be mitigated to avoid aero-optical disturbances. Should any of these elements be allowed to dominate, the laser beam can disperse, losing its precision and effectiveness at operational ranges. Finally, it is important to note that a laser system is a complex piece of technology, which must be ruggedized into a compact package capable of surviving a battlefield environment.


Microwave Directed Energy Weapons

HPM systems offer military commanders the options of: Speed-of-light, all weather attack of enemy electronic systems, Area coverage of multiple targets with minimal prior information on threats characteristics, Surgical strike (damage, disrupt, degrade) at selected levels of combat, Minimum collateral damage in politically sensitive environments, Simplified pointing and tracking and deep magazines (meaning long operating time without replenishment) and low operating costs.


They can be classified according to type of electromagnetic waveforms that are generated: ultra-wideband and narrowband. Ultrawideband type try to generate Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) like waveform that is generated usually when a nuclear device is detonated in the upper atmosphere. EMP is comprised of the fast risetime E1 component, the lightning type E2 component, and the solar flare type E3 component.


These waveforms having instantaneous fractional bandwidth greater than 20% of mean frequency. Raytheon had won a three-year, $15 Air Force million contract to integrate high-power electromagnetic systems with airborne platforms. In a 2012 test, a Boeing CHAMP (Counter-Electronics High-Power Advanced Missile Project) missile successfully disabled the electronics in a two-story building by firing high power microwaves. Every PC inside went dark within seconds, as did the building’s entire electrical system. The test was so successful that it also disabled cameras recording the event. Over the course of one hour, the missile knocked out electrical systems at seven selectively targeted buildings with little or no collateral damage. The CHAMP is superior to other electronic warfare weapons because it destroys electronics, rather than jamming which temporarily affects systems that come back online when it stops being applied.


The other type of electromagnetic DEW is Narrowband HPM DEW technology. These systems radiate short bursts of extremely strong electromagnetic waves that gets through “Front door” (antennas) and “Back door” (aperture and cables) into the target and destroys the electronics. The HPMs are D5 class of weapons incorporating Defend, Deny, Disrupt, Damage, and Destroy.


Most recent HPM systems is Raytheon’s “Phaser” high-power microwave (HPM) weapon mounted on a 20-ft. trailer with power provided by an internal diesel generator. The Phaser system can detect and track threats using its own radar or be cued by third-party sensors. The device’s parameters can be set to “disrupt” or “damage.” During demonstration, the Flanker and Tempest drones were detected, tracked and cued for destruction by a three-dimensional X-band Thales/Raytheon MPQ-64 Sentinel radar and vehicle-mounted Ku-band Close Combat Tactical Radar, with Raytheon’s radio-linked Command View-Tactical system providing command and control.


Russia’s United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (UIMC) also launched a new HPM system in 2015 fitted on the chassis of BUK surface-to-air missile system. It is capable of out-of-band suppression of the radio electronic equipment of low-altitude aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and the warheads of precision weapons. “When mounted on a special platform, the ‘microwave gun’ the impact range of the equipment is ten kilometers and capable of ensuring perimeter defense at 360 degrees.


Critical technologies for HPM DEW are high power microwave sources, high energy pulse power systems, ultra-fast switches, high power antenna systems, high breakdown dielectrics, system engineering, integration & testing and target lethality testing.


Directed Energy Weapons Market

The global directed energy weapons market size was valued at USD 8.54 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from USD 9.24 billion in 2022 to USD 17.43 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 9.48% during the forecast period.


This development is the result of worldwide high-energy laser technology programmers’ modernization and technological advancements over the course of history. However, the global expenditure allotted by nations to combat the raging pandemic throughout 2020–2021 had been impacted by the pandemic.


Electromagnetic weapons employ radio frequency energy against and could be used to destroy any enemy electronic systems, including radars, computer systems and communications infrastructures. Electromagnetic weapons can destroy, intercept or jam approaching enemy missiles, drones, rockets or aircraft at much lesser cost than firing an interceptor missile which can cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.


The US military is already using 100kW-150kW laser weapons and is developing more powerful 300kW laser weapons to counter supersonic cruise missiles. Lockheed Martin’s High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS), which combines high-energy laser with optical dazzler, is currently being tested by the US Navy on the Aegis Combat System aboard the Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyer. Further, the US Air Force is testing a high-energy laser weapon system named H2, which was developed by Raytheon Technologies.



One of the key factors accelerating the demand for directed-energy weapons over the next 10 years is a defense against terrorist attacks, CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear] threats, and nuclear aggressions to protect civilian lives and national security.

The rising geographical conflicts along with the increasing demand for advanced military devices in combat applications are propelling the global market for directed energy weapons. For instance, in 2020, according to International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), defense spending across the globe was estimated to be over USD 1,830 billion, an increase of 3.9% as compared to the 2019 spending. This could be due to rising conflicts between countries, leading to the strengthening of their defense forces.

Moreover, in the past years, over nine major international conflicts, including the Syrian Civil War, the Saudi Arabia-Yemen conflict, US-Iran tensions, and India-China tensions, were witnesses that may support the deployment of directed energy weapon solutions in combat forces. Such increased interest in high energy laser development among major defense spenders will help spur the application of the technology as part of missile defense systems, according to the report.


Increase in Military Operational Requirements Due to Conflict in Russia and Ukraine to Spur Market Growth

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has had seismic effects, including a refugee crisis, sanctions against Russia, a shift in the geopolitical landscape, and a reenergized NATO. Global investments and defense spending on hypersonic and directed energy weapons are rising as a result of the Russia-Ukraine War as nations attempt to protect themselves from a variety of perceived threats.


The increasing threat of rockets, missiles, unmanned air vehicles, etc., is accelerating the development and deployment of directed energy weapons. Directed energy weapons like lasers, high power microwaves, and electromagnetic weapons are being used to defend against attacks from threats like ballistic missiles, anti-satellite weapons, and nuclear weapons, etc. Currently, the majority of the countries are working on the integration of counter-UAV laser systems into their armed forces, which can be later scaled into complete air defense systems.


Besides this, the emergence of various military-based UAVs and drones integrated with directed energy weapons for providing long-range precision targeting and remote operations is further driving the global market. In the coming years, the introduction of several advanced solutions, such as high-energy laser (HEL) power to intercept cruise missiles, will continue to catalyze the market for directed energy weapons on a global level.  Furthermore, the rising threats from hypersonic weapons, particularly missiles, are catalyzing the demand for directed energy weapons for early destruction in missile trajectory.



Certain technical challenges, however, need to be addressed to develop effective DEWs, which can be affected by atmospheric absorption, scattering, and turbulence. Further, laser beams have straight trajectories, which hampers them from attacking over-the-horizon targets.


Restraint: Restrictions on anti-personnel lasers

DEWs are not authoritatively defined under international law, nor are they currently on the agenda of any existing multilateral mechanism. Nevertheless, there are a number of legal regimes that would apply to directed energy weapons.

The prospect of directed energy weapons raises questions for several bodies of international law, most notably those that place restrictions on the use of force. Some DEWs are classified as ‘nonlethal’ or ‘less-lethal’ weapons, with proponents setting them apart from ‘lethal’ weapons. Low-energy laser weapon systems are one of the most controversial topics in defense, as they may be used for anti-personnel purposes. The use of blinding weapons was banned in 1995 by the UN decision (Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (1995), annexed to the framework Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)).


Opportunity: Increase in R&D in advanced technologies

Improved system reliability is a crucial factor in the selection of a directed energy weapon by any country. The incorporation of advanced hardware units to help gather and distribute capability across various defense platforms like combat vehicles. These directed energy weapons are deployed in strategic locations to increase detection rates. State-of-the-art directed energy weapons with high accuracy have led countries with border disputes and regional threats to rely on these advanced directed energy weapons to assist in border protection. Thus, rising R&D in advanced directed energy weapons technologies is providing a wide range of opportunities in defense sector applications.


Challenge: Increased barriers in designing military DEW systems

Complexity in the design of directed energy weapon systems used by the defense industry has increased, resulting in increased complications of the weapon systems. The need for directed energy weapon system components offering parallel operations with lower power consumption, as well as size and weight reduction, in the defense industry has resulted in increased complexity of the design of directed energy weapon systems. On the other hand, continuous upgrades in military electronics require modern directed energy weapon systems to match the design requirements of this electronic equipment and systems. It is a big challenge for vendors to keep pace with the changing process and technological developments and to be on par with technological breakthroughs to design advanced and complex architectures suitable for military systems and equipment manufacturers. Failure to do so might reduce the number of contracts, agreements, and licenses; and, in turn, affect the overall performance of directed energy weapon systems in terms of efficiency and reliability.



By technology, the market is divided into high energy laser technology, high power microwave technology, particle beam weapons, plasma weapons, and sonic weapons. High Energy Laser to Record Heightened Demand Due to Burgeoning Operational Requirement by Armed Forces Worldwide

High Adoption Rate of Lethal DEW Across All Platforms to Drive Segmental Market Growth

Based on lethality, the market is classified into lethal and non-lethal. Lethal segment is estimated to be the largest segment with the directed energy weapons market share in 2021.  These lethal products, mainly focused for military application, include rail gun, electromagnetic bombs (e-bombs), plasma cannon (electrothermal accelerator), microwave gun, plasma grenade, navy laser cannon, gun-launched guided projectile, automatic shotguns, and several others. Huge investments are being made in the R&D as well as demonstration and testing of lethal directed energy weapons.

Rise in R&D Investment in Airborne Directed Energy Weapons to Aid Segmental Market Growth

The market is also segmented by the platform in land, sea, and air. By platform, the market is classified into land-based DEW, airborne-based DEW, ship-based DEW, and space-based DEW. The land-based DEW segment is considered the largest segment with market share in 2021 and during the forecast period.

Rise in Utility of Non-Lethal DEWs to Drive Directed Energy Weapons Market Growth During the Forecast Period

By application, the market is divided into defense and homeland security. Defense segment is considered the largest segment. It is anticipated to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period.

Based on region, the global DEW market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America


Based on platform, the Naval platform segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period.

Naval directed energy weapon systems consist of weapons that are used in naval applications, for instance, on combat ships and submarines, among others. The naval segment is further divided into combat ships, submarines, and unmanned surface vehicles. Defense ships are specifically designed for use by coast guards and naval forces to ensure the security of water borders.

The sea segment currently accounts for a majority share in the directed energy weapons market. This is mainly due to the plans of various governments to introduce directed energy weapons onboard combat ships like destroyers and frigates to neutralize enemy ships, UAVs, and missiles. The US Navy has been investing in the induction of directed energy weapons onboard the fleet of naval vessels for more than five years. The High Energy Laser Counter-ASCM Program (HELCAP), the Optical Dazzling Interdictor, Navy (ODIN), Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM), and the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System (SNLWS) (also known as the high-energy laser with integrated optical dazzler and surveillance (HELIOS)) are some of the major US Navy’s laser weapon programs. As of April 2021, the US Navy installed the laser weapons onboard five destroyers under the HELIOS program. Similarly, the European Defense Agency (EDA) began a study for the installation of directed energy weapons onboard naval ships against unmanned vehicles. The deployment of DEWs onboard naval vessels is expected to drive the growth of the market during the forecast period.

Based on technology, the High energy laser technology segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period

Based on technology, the high energy laser segment is projected to account for a share of 59.4% in 2021. This segment is projected to grow at a CAGR of 19.06% during the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the easy installation and low power consumption of high energy laser weapons. Compared to conventional ordnance, they have next to zero time of flight, which allows for a longer decision time and a quicker reaction time.




The US is leading in the development of DEWs globally with a market share of 41.6%, followed by China, France, Germany, and the UK. The US doubled its military expenditure on DEWs from $535m in fiscal year 2017 (FY17) to $1.1bn in FY19. The increase in investment in DEWs is expected to continue globally over the next decade.


Regional Insights:

North America to Lead Backed by Major Federal Budget

North America dominated the DEW market in 2021, and it is anticipated that this region will grow at the quickest rate during the forecast period. A significant portion of the federal budget is set aside for modern electronic warfare weaponry that can be used for land, sea, and air defense applications.

During the projection period, Europe is anticipated to have the second-largest market for DEW. On land, at sea, and in the air, member states of the European Union have made investments in the most recent high-energy laser technology.

The market in Asia Pacific is predicted to expand at the greatest CAGR throughout the projection period. The expansion is linked to the exploding R&D expenditure in the technological capabilities for directed energy by international and regional market participants


The North American region currently dominates the market due to the robust investment of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to integrate the directed energy weapon technology into the army, navy, and air force. Over the past few years, the government has signed contracts with various directed energy manufactures like Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Boeing to develop and deploy directed energy weapons.


The US military is already using 100kW-150kW laser weapons and is developing more powerful 300kW laser weapons to counter supersonic cruise missiles. Lockheed Martin’s High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance (HELIOS), which combines high-energy laser with optical dazzler, is currently being tested by the US Navy on the Aegis Combat System aboard the Arleigh Burke Flight IIA destroyer. Further, the US Air Force is testing a high-energy laser weapon system named H2, which was developed by Raytheon Technologies.


For instance, under the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) Advanced Technology Demonstration Program, the Air Force Research Laboratory planned to develop new laser systems that can be mounted onboard fighter jets to mitigate the threat of incoming missiles. Under the program, Lockheed Martin was selected by the US Air Force in 2017 with a contract of USD 26.3 million to design and develop a fiber laser. Initially, the laser was planned to be tested in 2021. However, later the Air Force Research Laboratory announced to test the fully developed system by 2024. Similarly, as of March 2021, the US Air Force began the testing of the High Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS), which was mounted onboard military vehicles to counter UAVs. The high-energy laser weapon system was delivered as a part of a USD 23.8 million contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory in 2019 to deliver two HELWS prototypes. Later in 2020, the company was awarded another contract worth USD 13.1 million for one additional HELWS. Such deployment plans of the armed forces are anticipated to propel the growth of the market.


The directed energy weapons market in Asia Pacific is projected to grow at the highest CAGR from 2021 to 2026.

Asia-Pacific contributed a share of 22.49% to the directed energy weapons market in 2021. China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and rest of Asia-Pacific have been considered in the Asia-Pacific directed energy weapons market. The demand for directed energy weapons market has increased in recent years, due to the rapid economic development and increasing security threats, across Asia-Pacific region and the increase in border disputes. The military spending of China, Japan, and India has been increasing in recent years due to increased possibilities of being targeted by terrorist attacks.



Key players in this market include Azimuth Corporation, Battelle, Diehl Defense GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), Elbit Systems Ltd. (Israel), Honeywell International Inc. (U.S.), II-VI Inc. (U.S.), BAE Systems Plc (U.K.), Kord Technologies (U.S.), L3Harris Technologies Inc. (U.S.), Leonardo S.p.A. (Italy), Lockheed Martin Corporation (U.S.), Northrop Grumman Corporation (U.S.), Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., Raytheon Technologies Corporation (U.S.), Rheinmetall AG (Germany), Thales Group (France), The Boeing Company (U.S.) , General Dynamics Corporation, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions,  MBDA, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, and Rheinmetall AG.



Various defense manufacturers, platform manufacturers, and technology firms are entering into collaboration for the development of new and advanced directed energy weapon systems for ground and naval platforms. In this regard, SIGN4L, a subsidiary of UAE conglomerate EDGE, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with MBDA and CILAS, a subsidiary of Ariane Group, in March 2021 to explore the opportunities of high-energy lasers in various domains and activities, such as operational analysis and systems architecture. Similarly, in October 2020, General Atomics and Boeing entered a partnership to develop a new high-energy laser for air and missile defense. In accordance with the agreement, the cmpanies will develop a 100-kilowatt laser that will be scalable to 250 kilowatts that will be deployed as a standalone system or integrated onboard ground vehicles, naval vessels, and aircraft. Such investments in the development of advanced laser weapon systems are anticipated to accelerate the growth of the company in the coming years.

  • In October 2020, Applied Technology Associates (ATA) was awarded a contract of USD 17.66 million other transaction prototype project agreement for the development, assembly, and testing of ground-based Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) prototype for a fixed-site Air Force Air Base Air Defense to counter Group 1 and Group 2 unmanned aerial system (UAS) threats. The existing contract is provided under Phase 1 of the development of a directed energy weapon prototype, with Phase 2 being an option.
  • In January 2021, the Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) of Germany provided a contract to a consortium of MBDA Deutschland GmbH and Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH to develop, integrate, and support testing of a laser weapon demonstrator in the maritime environment. The demonstrator of a laser weapon is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021, and trails for integration of laser weapon into F-124 Sachsen frigate for the German Navy are anticipated to begin by 2022.
  • In September 2021Thales Group received two contracts from the UK Ministry of Defense. The company is leading two consortia in the UK to manufacture and provide a trial of advanced laser weapon demonstrators with the British Army and the Royal Navy as part of the OD’s Novel Weapons Programme.
  • In August 2022, Lockheed Martin delivered its 60-plus-kW high scalable energy laser with integrated optical dazzler and surveillance (HELIOS) to the US Navy. The high-energy laser will be tested on the destroyer Preble in 2023.


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