From the Desk of Special Editor

Lasers are being used in various military applications since early days of its development. There has been large scale proliferation of laser devices for applications like range finding, target designation, target tracking and guidance, etc., during 70's and 80's. Though these devices continue to proliferate at a fast pace, quite significantly, the last one decade or so has also seen emergence of some new potential areas of usage as far as military applications of lasers are concerned. One such potent area is electrooptic countermeasures (EOCM). Electrooptical/optoelectronic devices and laser systems that can offer effective countermeasures against similar devices and systems already deployed by the armed forces of the adversary are categorised as EOCM equipment. The devices belonging to the category of EOCM equipment mainly include the EOCM-class lasers and the EOCM support systems. EOCM lasers are relatively high energy pulsed or high power CW solid-state laser systems of varying specifications.
EOCM support equipment include EOCM laser diagnostic gadgets and laser warning sensors. Yet another laser device that has shot into prominence in the last five to six years is the laser dazzler (LD), which can be used to temporarily dazzle the armed troops of the adversary. Both short-range as well as long-range versions of the LD have been developed and found to be very effective when used in counter-insurgency operations. As deployment of these systems can significantly enhance the survivability of the armed forces, these systems are going to be an indispensable constituent of almost all fighting platforms in future battles.
EOCM is an emerging technology and has been the thrust area of research and development in Defence Research and Development Organisation for the last five years. During this period, DRDO has done pioneering work in the indigenous development of different types of EOCM devices and systems for a variety of applications including EOCM-class lasers for anti-sensor applications, laser dazzlers, high resolution laser warning sensors and a variety of dedicated diagnostic gadgets required for field evaluation of EOCM equipment.
This special issue of Technology Focus highlights some of the electrooptical/ optoelectronic devices and laser systems developed by DRDO.

(Anil Kumar Maini)
Scientist G