The image you saw on the cover of this story is an actual laser gun tested successfully by the US armed forces. Don’t worry, the US will be using it for ‘peaceful purposes’ because they use all their weapons for world piece peace.
As of now, the DRDO is working on a 10-kilowatt directed energy weapon (DEW), which is basically a gun that emits high-energy lasers and high-powered microwaves. (For a gun of the Stormtrooper kind, the kW energy will of course be way more.)
A TOI report says that DRDO has already tested such a “system” at Centre for High Energy Systems and Sciences (CHESS) in Hyderabad. It has also been demonstrated the ‘weapon’ to the armed forces.
DRDO’s ‘system’ is far from the ones with Russia, United States and China. Their tests on such a weapon have been on since the 1980s.
They have DEW weapons that can shoot down drones and small boats.
It is China’s galloping speed in arming itself with kinetic, electronic and cyber weapons that is an immediate threat to India’s security preparedness.
The DRDO has been criticized for the tediously slow pace at which it pursues its projects but if the special attention it has been receiving under the Modi government continues, it might as well make significant strides in this area as well.
In February 2014, the DRDO got Rs.115 crore for development of DEWs by July 2017.
A DEW gun can do away with the need for missiles as well besides the low cost that would be needed to build such a weapon.