Directed Energy Weapons: The ‘new’ option for militaries

3 November 2021
Directed Energy Weapons: The ‘new’ option for militaries

Though directed energy technologies have existed for decades, they have always faced a range of technical and operational challenges that prevented their use in the field. But these challenges are being overcome as the technology continues to mature. The military use of a range of directed energy weapons (DEW) in the field—which include lasers, high-powered microwaves and particle beam weapons—is becoming a reality. Indeed, the Secretary-General’s 2021 report on Current developments in science and technology and their potential impact on international security and disarmament efforts highlights DEW as an area which could potentially impact international security. What are these weapons and how do they work? How do DEW compare to conventional weapons? What are the legal, ethical and security challenges around their use? And what are their implications for existing arms control frameworks? This closed briefing will offer a comprehensive introduction to DEW technology and provide a platform for audience members to ask questions about its broad implications for peace and international security.

This meeting is part of a series of informal briefings organized by UNIDIR’s Security and Technology programme. It will introduce participants to DEWs, explain what effects different types would lead to, and discuss the impact these weapon systems may have on international security over the coming years.


Dr. Jürgen Altmann, Researcher and Lecturer, Department of Physics at TU Dortmund University

Ms. Sarah Grand-Clément, Researcher, Security and Technology and Conventional Arms Programmes at UNIDIR


Please note that this event is by invitation only. For further information, please contact


November 3 2021 15:00-16:00 CET | Online.