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Offensive Laser and Microwave Systems Form the Next Defense Market Ready to Boom
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A new era of advanced weaponry is evolving and has prompted the US Department of Defense (DoD), along with several national laboratories and defense agencies to accelerate the development of directed energy (DE) for use as weapons. Hypersonic and ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicle swarms, and improvised terror attacks are some of the most significant threats to US air, ground, naval, and space assets. The development of high energy lasers (HELs) and electromagnetics (EMs) will arm the US arsenal with a low-cost solution. In addition, DE weapons will be capable of multiple shots at multiple targets whose only limitation will be power. US defense spending on this emerging market is ready to flourish. US adversaries such as China and Russia are also working toward their own DE developments. The US DoD defines DE as an umbrella term covering technologies that produce concentrated electromagnetic energy and atomic or subatomic particles. A DE weapon is a system using DE primarily as a means to incapacitate, damage, disable, or destroy enemy equipment, facilities, and/or personnel. It also includes actions taken to protect friendly equipment, facilities, and personnel and retain friendly use of the EM spectrum. With the maturation of DE technology, weaponized DE systems are becoming more prolific, powerful, and a significant subset of the electronic warfare (EW) mission area. DE examples include active denial technology, lasers, radio frequency (RF) weapons, and DE anti-satellite and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapon systems.This research reviews the developing DE weapons market within the US Defense industry. Although laser technology has been in existence since the early 1960s, and microwave even earlier than that, present trends within the DoD are focused on the further development of these capabilities into operational weapons.Spending forecasts are based on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget requests, which in this case are isolated to RDTE funding. Readers should bear this in mind as this type of spending is based on progress of some programs, termination of projects that prove a hypothesis, and the initiation of new advanced programs effected by results of finished initiatives. Market share for this effort is established by use of government contracts awarded within FY 2017, which is the established base year for this effort. However, because this research took place near the end of FY 2018, additional contracts awarded during FY 2018 and competitor activity are included to furnish readers a better insight into the make-up of this developing market. Note: The cutoff date of research data for this effort is 31 Aug 2018.The research is segmented by the defense service agencies involved in the development of DE weapons under four distinct venues: air, land, sea, and space. As such, this effort will analyze how the US Air Force, Army, Navy, and Joint organizations are investing funds in the development of this fast emerging market.
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