Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams (

Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) have long captured military attention – and budgets – and are now on the cusp of technological maturity. Whilst doubts remain over whether certain types can be fully operationalised, recent tests of prototype DEW have made it clear that this form of weaponry has moved beyond just a theoretical concept.

As the underlying technology matures and is subjected to testing outside of laboratories, it will likely attract increased attention from militaries and governments seeking to establish technical superiority over adversaries, including by developing weaponry that can be used in space. Several modern militaries have already invested heavily in developing the technology; many others are likely to have an interest in acquiring it.

This paper provides an introduction to Directed Energy Weapons, suggesting areas of concern and presenting preliminary recommendations for the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) states parties.

Download this discussion paper

Directed Energy Weapons

November 2017


Posted in: New weapon technologies,