The militarisation of high-energy Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) might be regarded as a game-changer for defending against high-speed missiles, remotely piloted aircraft and swarms of drones. Low powered DEW systems have been militarised to dazzle electro-optical sensors and Australia has already integrated Directed Infra-Red Counter Measures into air mobility aircraft for self-protection.
DEW may provide a speed-of-light option, with a lower cost per round, as an alternative to high-end precision-guided weapons that cost more than the targeted incoming threat systems. However, in trade-off analyses with other weapons effects, DEW may increase the burdens on technology, power, mission planning and integration, and collateral damage risks. Additionally, there are unavoidable physical constraints to the employment of the DEW damage mechanism caused by weather, environment, and target characteristics such as aerodynamic cooling, reflectivity, ablation effects, and heat resistance.