The concept of a “directed-energy weapon” is one that was conceived by science fiction writers such as H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, but it was in the 1930s that British Air Ministry considered whether a “death ray”-type weapon could be developed. Work was undertaken by Robert Watson-Watt of the Radio Research Station, and while he and colleague Arnold Wilkins concluded such a project wasn’t feasible it did result in the development of radar.

In recent years, work has continued to develop such a directed-energy weapon based on technologies ready to field now, and this has included high-powered microwaves, while defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin have researched, designed, developed and captured electromagnetic energy and elevated its power to create innovative directed-energy solutions. The use of directed energy would be a serious force multiplier, which is why so much emphasis has been placed on its development.

According to a new report from research firm GlobalData, directed-energy weapons (DEWs) have matured quickly and are now transitioning towards widespread, practical and cost-effective field development. Should these be successfully developed and deployed, DEWs could have an immense potential to be revolutionary in the long-term.

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