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Directed Energy Weapons (Defense) – Thematic Research

In the past two decades, military use of directed energy technologies has quickly matured from the research laboratory to the operational force. Lasers have become highly effective instruments of military operations.

Directed energy weapons (DEWs) could provide a number of capabilities and advantages over traditional weapons due to their speed-of-light delivery, precision engagement, controlled/scalable effects, logistical benefits, and low cost per shot. Furthermore, DEWs are silent, offer plausible deniability, can travel immense distances relative to conventional weapons, and engage multiple targets. Consequently, these advantages will support the development of a wide spectrum of military equipment and capabilities.

Although DEW systems have the potential to be used for offensive purposes, currently, weapons development programs are mainly focused on defense systems.


DEW systems have started to be used alongside conventional weapons in combat areas, although they are not fully operational and there are still problems that need to be overcome. However, the operational potential of these weapons is compelling countries to review their defense concepts.

DEW has potential to be used in the destruction or neutralization of ballistic missiles, rockets, UAVs, swarm crafts, land mines and IEDs, neutralization of the enemy's electronic warfare capabilities, and temporary or permanent incapacitation of enemy troops or terrorist elements, protection of critical facilities, and air, sea and land vehicles and platforms as well as non-lethal applications such as crowd control or disabling machinery.

DEWs, if successfully developed and deployed, have immense potential to be revolutionary in the long future. The evidence indicates that directed-energy will soon become one of the most powerful technologies for success on the battlefield and will eventually replace many existing forms of weaponry.

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Key Players

BAE Systems, Boeing, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), Dynetics, Elbit Systems, Genasys, General Atomics (GA), Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Leidos, Lockheed Martin, MBDA Holdings, nLIGHT, Northrop Grumman, Poly Technologies, Radiance Technologies, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Raytheon Technologies, Rheinmetall, Roketsan, Thales

Table of Contents


Technology briefing


Industry analysis

Value chain



Single theme


Sector scorecard


Technology briefing

Laser weapons

Particle beam weapons

High-power sonic weapons

Utilization of dews in combat scenarios


Defence and technology trends

Macroeconomic trends

Regulatory trends

Industry analysis

Market size and growth forecasts

Global dew development efforts

Mergers and acquisitions


Value chain

Directed energy technology

Directed energy weapons

End user domain


Leaders in dews

Challengers in dews


Appendix: our thematic research methodology


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