Proceedings PaperThe Directed Energy Program for Ballistic Missile Defense
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Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) utilize a variety of techniques to concentrate destructive levels of energy over vast distances almost instantaneously. For this reason, directed energy systems are considered to be candidate weapons for intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM's) as they are being launched, and before they are able to release their multiple, independently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRV'S bearing nuclear warheads. Considerable leverage is gained by the defense since a single missile killed during this boost phase will eliminate not only 6 to 10 RV's, but also perhaps hundreds of decoys which would otherwise be deployed to confuse and saturate subsequent defense layers.