- China in the recent years has embarked upon military modernization, and laser-based weapon system is one of them.
- The US has reported use of low-powered laser beams by China in South China Sea, East China Sea and Djibouti in the horn of Africa where both China and USA have naval bases.
- The Chinese low-powered lasers are particularly deployed on fishing vessels.
- The fishing boats have played an important role in China’s maritime militia asserting its territorial claims in the disputed East and South China Seas.
- The Low-power laser guns are used to dazzle or blind the enemy from a short range.
- Also called cat grade lasers, they are not military grade but only tactical weapons to create disruptions in enemy movements.
In brief: Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019
- Australia is increasingly trying to embark upon its role as a major maritime power in the Indian Ocean Region.
- In that direction, it announced the Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019.
- Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 involves exercises and cooperation with 7 countries in the IOR including Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore.
- AUSINDEX 2019, the bilateral naval exercise between India and Australia held in April 2019 was also a part of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 of Australia.
Laser-based Directed Energy Weapon System
- Laser-based weapons are advanced directed energy weapon systems that can be mounted on a truck, a vessel, used as close-in weapons on aircraft making up for the sixth generation fighters.
- They range from low-powered tactical beam emitters to a high-energy strategic weapons system.
- They can be used tactically to blind the enemy personnel, damage or destroy enemy’s facilities, aircraft, anti-personnel weapon systems, missiles, even space assets.
- HELIOS is US Navy’s high power laser weapon system.
- The high-energy fiber laser is designed to counter unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and small boats.
- Sensors that ensures long-range ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capability:
- A counter-UAS dazzler capability: A dazzler that can obscure adversarial UAS-based ISR capabilities.
- It is China’s vehicle-based laser defence weapon system.
- Usually truck-mounted, they are used to intercept aerial targets including UAVs, drones, guided bombs etc.
India’s Laser Weapon System
- DRDO is developing a laser weapon system.
- In this direction, it has tested a high-powered laser of 2KW in July 2018.
- Other systems such as cooling system and optoelectronics involving lenses etc are in the process of development.
Section : Defence & Security