present a point of view contributed by one of our regulars
Sayan Mazumdar from Kolkata on India's laser technology
status. He is both knowledgeable and keen on India becoming a strong
Indian Air Force had done a lot of work in adapting laser-guided
bomb technolgy and that effort needs to be pursued. Cooperation with
Russia and other countries may be the answer to our many technological
DRDO projects, so that they succeed and the costs can be amortised.
We are aware that Indian defence scientists cannot do everything on
their own. Do send in your views on this article.
Laser Technology Efforts
unveiled its high technology laser weapons programme during mid 1994
just prior the visit of then Prime Minister P.V. Narashima Rao to
the United States. The programme included a tactical laser beam
system designed to destroy "terrain hugging" land-attack
cruise missiles and low flying aircraft and attack helicopters. DRDO
scientists at that point of time had stated that the Indian laser
weapons programme was a decade old and at least five years away from
a working prototype of a laser weapon.
at that point of time included high power combustion driven gas
dynamic lasers and arc tunnels. Laser outputs of 1 Kilowatt, with
pressure of 30 atm and heat up to 1800 Kelvin had been achieved. To
function as a weapon system laser outputs of at least 10 Kilowatt
with comparable increase in pressure and temperature were needed and
were projected to be achievable within "next four to five
laser programme was also working on carbon dioxide wave-guide lasers
for use in communications, and especially in weapons guidance,
ranging, tracking and imaging that is applied to LGBs (Laser Guided
Bombs), to be delivered on enemy targets with pin-point accuracy.
Surgical strikes on high-value military installations are thus
facilitated with minimum collateral damage.
lasers were being developed for use as super-high-speed ignition
systems to arm missiles. Various sub-systems for laser research had
been developed like laser compatible optical glass, metal mirrors
and high-energy Xenon lamps for laser pumping.
and other directed energy weapons are all well set to play a vital
role in future conflicts. On a global scale the most famous laser
weapon is mounted on YAL-1/747, which is a modified Boeing 747-400
carrying a 2.64 metre diametre nose turret housing beam steering
optics for a chemical oxygen-iodine laser. The aircraft is projected
to loiter around at 40,000 feet and shoot down theatre ballistic
missiles in the boost phase from a distance of 600 kilometres. Also
under development is THEL (Thermal High Energy Laser) designed to
shoot down short-range artillery rockets fired from MBRLs
(Multi-Barrel Rocket Launchers).
of sophisticated low-power yet high-energy lasers facilitated
miniaturisation of laser weaponry to be developed for fighter-sized
aircraft. It is reported that a 25 KW to 100 KW laser weapon was
being developed for the projected JSF (Joint Strike Fighter).
such circumstances, the Indian scientists should make rapid strides
in development of indigenous laser weapons of sufficient capacity
within a given time frame. If necessary, joint-collaboration with
the Russians and/or Israelis should be welcome.