Directed Energy (DE) is the use of electromagnetic radiation as a weapon. DE systems have been developed for both strategic and tactical military applications as well as for civilian use such as by police forces. DE systems often have a variety of effects from disruption to destruction, which make them versatile. All DE systems appear to be much less expensive than conventional weapons such as guns and missiles, on a per-shot basis by an installed system. All project energy at the speed of light, nearly instantaneously at most pertinent ranges.
Based on the availability of suitable sources, DE has been traditionally split into two areas. The high energy laser (HEL) DE systems cover the spectrum from ultraviolet through visible to infrared areas. The RF DE or high powered microwave (HPM) systems cover much longer wavelengths typically in or near the microwave region. The two are significantly different in technologies, approaches, and effects.
These two areas are also different in the organizational imperatives that drive their work. The laser DE research has been more open to public disclosure. So, for example, a 2014 summary of some U.S. HEL DE systems was published in the open literature. We know of no similar publication for RF DE systems.
Some of the more prominent government and industrial organizations involved in DE research and development are listed on this web page. Many staff of these organizations are members of the Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS) and are active in DE research and development. You can explore DEPS programs and events through the drop down menu bar above.