Monday, January 22, 2007

High Powered Microwave Weapons Are Near

Electronic warfare is becoming less a science of developing new technologies and more a process of sensor fusion, target networking and finding new ways to manipulate existing tools of the trade. A case in point--lasers and high-power microwave devices long have been eyed as competing directed-energy attack options. However, researchers are now combining the two to produce smaller, cheaper, more powerful, nonkinetic weapons. Electronic attack has taken a new path as well, shifting from covering enemy emissions with noise to finding, penetrating and exploiting enemy networks from low-power cell-phone networks to sophisticated air defense systems. The following articles explore some of those changes.

High-power microwave weapons may be on the verge of a high-speed turn toward the practical.

An advanced concept, pioneered by BAE Systems' researchers, uses light to multiply the speed and power at which HPM pulses--powerful enough to destroy enemy electronics--can be produced without the need for explosives or huge electrical generators.

Researchers predict leaps of 10-100 times in power output within two years. That advance could push the beam-weapon technology far beyond the 1-10-gigawatt limit of current tactical-size HPM devices. Long-standing industry estimates are that it would require a 100-gigawatt pulse for a few nanoseconds to disable a cruise missile at a useful range.

BAE Systems is not alone in the chase. Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are also building distributed array radars that can produce air-to-air and surface-to-air HPM weapons effects, contend longtime Pentagon radar specialists. In particular, the F-22, F-35, F/A-18E/F and newest F-15 radars are designed to accept modifications that would focus their beams to produce HPM energy spikes powerful enough to disable cruise, anti-aircraft, air-to-air and emitter-seeking missiles. Germany's Diehl is developing suitcase-size HPM devices that could be placed surreptitiously in a target building to damage electronics such as computers.

In addition, the U.S. military is giving classified briefings on the threat of HPM weapon technologies being developed in China and Russia. The Russians are believed to be developing radio-frequency microwave weapons for air defense, and the Chinese are developing HPM and electromagnetic pulse weapons for information warfare.

The Future is Now.


A bit more seriously, directed energy weapons have a pretty good chance of revolutionizing what we do in warfare. James also noted about the railgun that's progressing for the USN.


RoseCovered Glasses said...

Good Post. I enjoyed your commentary.
On related matters, USA Today has recently reported in its Washington Section that the CIA plans to utilize more open sources and blogs in its intelligence work and outsource more of its intelligence software development to commercial contractors in an attempt to re-establish itself as the premiere world intelligence agency.

The "Strategic Intent" is posted on the CIA public web site. Defense Industry Daily further reports that General Electric is gobbling up Smith's Industries for $4.8B.

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak. Let's look at this for a moment and do our patriotic duty by reading along with the CIA (after all, they have announced they are reading this blog)

1. The new CIA approach comes exactly at the formation of the agency’s new "External Advisory Board", which consists of the following:

* A former Pentagon Chairman of the Joints Chief who is now a Northrop Grumman Corporation Board Member

* A deposed Chairman of the Board of Hewlett Packard Corporation (HP)

* A Former Deputy Secretary of Defense who now heads up a Washington think tank with Henry Kissinger

2. Northrop Grumman Corporation and Hewlett Packard are two huge government contractors in the Pentagon and CIA custom software development arena. Their combined contracts with the government just for IT are in the multiples of millions. I wonder what the advisory board is filling the CIA's ear with?

3. Washington "Think Tanks" are fronts for big time lobbies, sophisticated in their operations, claiming non-partisanship, but tremendously influential on K Street. If a lobby cannot buy its way in, why not sit on the advisory board?

4. GE already has the military aircraft jet engine market. In buying Smith's, it takes one more major defense corporation out of the opposition and further reduces the government's leverage through competition. GE now joins the other monoliths such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon with tremendous leverage in the $500B +++ per year defense market.

5. Note the synergy that now exists between the Pentagon and the CIA. Note the influence by the major corporations.

6. Also note the balance in your bank account and your aspirations for the generations of the future. Both are going down.

7. The huge Military Industrial Complex (MIC) continues to march. Taxes and national debt will be forced to march straight up the wall to support it. Do you have any "Intelligence” to offer the Pentagon, the CIA and the MIC? For further inspiration please see:

Will Baird said...

uh, hi, Ken.

I have to say that while I appreciate the visit, but this post seems almost like spammage here. It has little to do with what I posted about, t'boot.

I'm going to leave it though. I hope that you come through and leave more meaningful comments later.