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Electromagnetic and High Power Microwave Directed Energy Weapons: The Key to Countering Drone Swarms and Satellite Threats

Introduction

In recent years, the rising proliferation of drone technology and the increasing vulnerability of satellites have become significant concerns for national security. As traditional defense mechanisms struggle to keep up with these emerging threats, Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) offer a promising solution. In this article, we explore the potential of Electromagnetic and High Power Microwave DEWs (HPM DEWs) in countering the challenges posed by drone swarms and satellite threats.

 

The Rise of Drone Swarms:

The proliferation of commercial and consumer-grade drones has enabled the formation of drone swarms – a coordinated group of multiple drones operating in sync. Drone swarms pose serious threats to military installations, critical infrastructure, and public safety. Their ability to overwhelm traditional defenses, evade radar detection, and conduct precise attacks demands innovative solutions.

 

DEWs: The Game-Changer:

DEWs, particularly High Power Microwave weapons, are emerging as a game-changer in addressing the menace of drone swarms. By delivering short pulses of intense electromagnetic energy, HPM DEWs can effectively neutralize a large number of drones simultaneously. This ability to engage multiple targets in rapid succession is a major advantage in combating drone swarms.

 

A high power microwave directed energy weapon (HPM DEW) is a type of weapon that uses electromagnetic waves in the microwave frequency range to damage or disable electronic systems. HPM DEWs are typically designed to emit a focused beam of energy that can be directed at a target, such as a vehicle, aircraft, or building, to disrupt or destroy electronic systems.

 

RF Directed Energy Weapons, either narrowband high-power microwave (HPM) or ultra wideband (UWB) uses high intensity concentrated electromagnetic radiation (CW, Pulsed or Impulsive high voltage) to irradiate the target at a distance that gets coupled into its  electronic equipments and disrupts its components, circuitry, and switches. Unlike Laser DEW, HPM DEW is in fact ‘SMART’ as it sneaks in and affects the target system through its most vulnerable points.

 

These types of directed energy microwave devices came on the scene in the late 1960s in the U.S. and the Soviet Union. They were enabled by the development of pulsed power in the 1960s. Pulsed power generates short electrical pulses that have very high electrical power, meaning both high voltage – up to a few megavolts – and large electrical currents – tens of kiloamps. That’s more voltage than the highest-voltage long-distance power transmission lines, and about the amount of current in a lightning bolt.

 

Plasma physicists at the time realized that if you could generate, for example, a 1-megavolt electron beam with 10-kiloamp current, the result would be a beam power of 10 billion watts, or gigawatts. Converting 10% of that beam power into microwaves using standard microwave tube technology that dates back to the 1940s generates 1 gigawatt of microwaves. For comparison, the output power of today’s typical microwave ovens is around a thousand watts – a million times smaller.

 

The effects of a HPM DEW on electronic systems can vary depending on the frequency, power, and duration of the exposure. Some of the potential effects include the disruption or destruction of electronic components, the generation of electromagnetic interference (EMI) that can disrupt communications and other systems, and the creation of a high voltage surge that can damage sensitive equipment.

 

Although these high-power microwave sources generate very high power levels, they tend to generate repeated short pulses, output pulse on the order of tens of nanoseconds, or billionths of a second. So even when generating 1 gigawatt of output power, a 10-nanosecond pulse has an energy content of only 10 joules. High power is important in these weapons because generating very high instantaneous power yields very high instantaneous electric fields, which scale as the square root of the power. It is these high electric fields that can disrupt electronics, which is why the Department of Defense is interested in these devices.

 

 

They can be classified according to type of electromagnetic waveforms that are generated: wideband (upto 2GHz, > 10%), ultra wideband (upto 2GHz, > 25%) and narrowband (1 to 35GHz, < 10%). RF Directed Energy Sources, either narrowband high-power microwave (HPM) uses high intensity electromagnetic radiation to irradiate the target that gets couples into its electronic equipments and disrupts the components, circuitry, and switches inside it.

 

Narrowband HPM DEW technologies which have frequencies generally 1 to 35 GHz and bandwidth less than 10% of the center frequency. The narrowband environments are pulsed CW waveforms in the gigahertz range with pulse widths of the order of microseconds. High-power Lasers excite atoms to release bursts of coherent (single-frequency, single-phase) light that is focused with mirrors to a precise point on the target and destroys it by overheating .

 

Ultra wideband type tries to generate Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) like waveform that is generated usually when a nuclear device is detonated in the upper atmosphere. EMP is comprised of the fast rise time E1 component, the lightning type E2 component, and the solar flare type E3 component. These waveforms having instantaneous fractional bandwidth greater than 20% of mean frequency. One of the example of UWB weapons is Electromagnetic Bomb (e-bomb) being developed by RCI / TBRL. They include high power narrow pulse fields (pulse widths narrower than 100 ps), which may be repetitively pulsed (up to 1 million pulses per second).

 

Applications

HPM DEWs have been developed for both military and non-military applications. In military applications, HPM DEWs can be used to disable or destroy enemy electronic systems, such as radars, communication systems, and missile guidance systems. In non-military applications, HPM DEWs can be used for a variety of purposes, such as disabling drones, disrupting telecommunications, or disabling electronic devices used by criminals.

 

Neutralizing Satellite Threats:

The growing dependence on satellites for communication, navigation, surveillance, and reconnaissance makes them attractive targets for adversaries seeking to disrupt critical services. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons pose a significant challenge to space security. DEWs offer a more precise and controlled approach to counter satellite threats.

 

Countering ASAT Threats with HPM DEWs:

HPM DEWs can be deployed in space or on the ground to neutralize incoming ASAT threats. They can disrupt the electronics and sensors of ASAT weapons, rendering them ineffective. Moreover, HPM DEWs can be used to disable hostile satellite systems without generating debris, which is a crucial consideration to preserve the integrity of space operations.

 

For deeper understanding of HPM DEW weapons and technologies please visit: Electromagnetic and High Power Microwave Directed Energy Weapons: Technology, Impact, and Future Implications

 

 

 

Counter Drone

Countries are developing many Counter-drone technology, also known as counter-UAS, C-UAS, or counter-UAV technology, refers to systems that are used to detect and/or intercept unmanned aircraft. These range  from shoulder-mounted launcher system to physically capture it, silent cyber weapon that floors a drone instantly, anti drone cannons, Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) like jamming of command and control links and GPS spoofing,  counter drone Directed Energy Weapons both laser based and electromagnetic weapons.

 

One of the counter drone system is Directed energy microwave weapons that convert energy from a power source – a wall plug in a lab or the engine on a military vehicle – into radiated electromagnetic energy and focus it on a target. The directed high-power microwaves damage equipment, particularly electronics, without killing nearby people. Today, research in high-power microwaves continues in the U.S. and Russia but has exploded in China.  Dozens of countries now have active high-power microwave research programs.

The Pentagon has been slow to embrace this new microwave technology, which China has been developing for more than a decade. But it’s finally getting serious attention. Former defense secretary Mark T. Esper just joined the Epirus board, and the Pentagon plans to start deploying the company’s counter-drone systems to U.S. forces around the world this year.

Electromagnetic and Microwave weapons as counter Drone Swarms

Electromagnetic and microwave weapons are being considered as countermeasures against drone swarms. Drone swarms pose a significant threat to security and infrastructure, as they can carry out coordinated attacks with relative ease. This has led to a growing interest in developing new technologies to counter this threat.

One of the proposed solutions is the use of electromagnetic and microwave weapons, which can disrupt the communication and control systems of drones. These weapons use high-powered electromagnetic radiation to disable electronic systems, including those used by drones. The radiation can be directed and focused, allowing the weapon to target specific areas of the drone’s communication and control systems.

Another advantage of electromagnetic and microwave weapons is that they can be used to counter a wide range of drones, regardless of their size or shape. This makes them more versatile than traditional kinetic weapons, which may not be effective against smaller drones.

Benefits of DEWs in Countering Drone Swarms and Satellite Threats:

  1. Rapid Response: DEWs offer near-instantaneous engagement, enabling quick responses to dynamic threats like drone swarms.
  2. Non-Lethal Option: DEWs can be configured to deliver non-lethal effects, allowing for the incapacitation of drones without causing human casualties.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to traditional kinetic weapons, DEWs can be more cost-effective, offering multiple engagements with less expenditure.
  4. Minimal Collateral Damage: DEWs’ precision targeting reduces the risk of collateral damage to surrounding assets and civilian populations.
  5. Multi-Platform Deployment: DEWs can be mounted on various platforms, including land-based systems, ships, aircraft, and even satellites, enhancing their versatility.

The video, prepared by a defense start-up called Epirus, shows a swarm of eight drones advancing across a government test range in Nevada. As they come nearer, a mobile ground station fires a high-powered microwave pulse toward the attackers. The drones tumble from the sky like dead birds.

 

What’s potentially revolutionary about this approach is that using artificial intelligence, it can target precise frequencies with a densely concentrated pulse of energy. Epirus system, known as Leonidas, has been reported to disable an adversary drone but leave untouched a friendly one a few feet away. It can take down big, fixed-wing drones as well as tiny quadcopters. Epirus executives say their system can disable a drone’s rotor, or its camera, or its GPS navigation system, or even implant code to manipulate its movements.

 

HPM DEW Technologies

There are several technology aspects involved in the development and deployment of high power microwave directed energy weapons (HPM DEWs). Some of the key technology aspects include:

Electromagnetic radiation: HPM DEWs emit electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range. The power and frequency of the radiation can be adjusted to achieve different effects on electronic systems.

Power sources: HPM DEWs require a significant amount of power to generate the electromagnetic radiation. The power can be provided by a variety of sources, such as batteries, generators, or capacitors.

Antenna technology: HPM DEWs use specialized antennas to focus and direct the electromagnetic radiation. The design of the antenna can have a significant impact on the effectiveness and range of the weapon.

Control systems: HPM DEWs require sophisticated control systems to accurately aim and fire the weapon. The control systems can include sensors, targeting systems, and computer algorithms.

Safety and environmental considerations: HPM DEWs can have unintended effects on electronic systems and the environment. Therefore, the development and deployment of HPM DEWs must take into account safety and environmental considerations, including potential health risks to humans and animals.

Countermeasures: HPM DEWs can be countered with various countermeasures such as Faraday cages, shielding, or frequency-hopping technologies.

Research and development: The development of HPM DEWs requires ongoing research and development to improve their effectiveness, reduce their size and weight, and address safety and ethical concerns.

Overall, the technology aspects of HPM DEWs are complex and require expertise in multiple disciplines, including electrical engineering, physics, computer science, and safety engineering.

 

Development of HPM DEW by various countries

  1. United States: The U.S. military has been developing HPM DEWs for several decades, with notable programs including the Counter-Electronics High-Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) and the Tactical High Power Microwave Operational Responder (THOR). These systems are designed to disable or destroy enemy electronic systems, such as radar, communication systems, and missile guidance systems.
  2. Russia: Russia has also been developing HPM DEWs, with the development of the Avangard hypersonic missile, which is said to be equipped with a high-power microwave (HPM) warhead. The Russian military has also reportedly tested an HPM DEW called the Krasukha-4.
  3. China: The Chinese military has reportedly been developing HPM DEWs, with some reports suggesting that they have deployed HPM DEWs on some of their naval vessels.
  4. Israel: The Israeli military has reportedly been developing HPM DEWs for use in the Gaza Strip, where they have been used to disable or destroy Hamas’ unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  5. India: India has also reportedly been developing HPM DEWs, with the development of the Microwave Directed Energy Weapon (MDEW), which is designed to destroy or disable enemy electronic systems.

It is worth noting that information on the development and deployment of HPM DEWs in various countries is often limited due to their sensitive nature and classified status.

 

Research by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has demonstrated that a quadcopter drone can be downed by projecting sound frequencies under 30 kHz through a consumer-grade speaker.

The research, which was published in the journal Nature Electronics, found that the sound waves can cause the drone’s MEMS gyroscope to malfunction, which can lead to the drone losing control and crashing.

The researchers believe that this technique could be used to disable drones in a variety of settings, such as military or security applications.

However, it is important to note that this technique is not without its limitations. For example, it would only be effective against drones that are within close range of the speaker. Additionally, the sound waves could potentially harm people or animals if they are exposed to them for an extended period of time.

Overall, the research by KAIST is a significant development in the field of drone security. It provides a new way to disable drones that is both effective and relatively easy to implement.

TACTICAL HIGH POWER OPERATIONAL RESPONDER (THOR)

Drones are becoming more pervasive every day. Rather than being used as innocuous hobby systems, drones can be employed as weapons intended to cause great harm at long standoff ranges. As they become more prolific and technically mature it is imperative that there be a safe way to protect airbases against these threats. There are several drone negating systems available; guns, nets and laser systems. THOR looks to extend the range to effect and decrease the engagement time over these other deterrent devices.

 

THOR is a counter-swarm electromagnetic weapon the Air Force Research Laboratory developed for defense of airbases. The system provides non-kinetic defeat of multiple targets. It operates from a wall plug and uses energy to disable drones. The system uses high power microwaves to cause a counter electronic effect. A target is identified, the silent weapon discharges in a nanosecond and the impact is instantaneous

 

THOR, a first of its kind system, stows completely in a 20 foot transport container, which can easily be transported in a C-130. The system can be set up within 3 hours and has a user interface that has been designed to require minimal user training. The overall cost to develop the technology was approximately $15 million dollars.

 

US Marine’s Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System [LMADIS]

The MADIS was developed specifically to combat the weaponized commercial drone development. It is equipped with state-of-the-art sensors, optics to track and monitor targets at extensive ranges, and kinetic capabilities to physically disable a UAS on approach. The broader Marine Air Defense Integrated System is meant to shoot down drones, fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters and includes both non-kinetic (jamming) and kinetic weapons to down drones. The kinetic weapon is a 7.62-millimeter minigun mounted on the new Humvee replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. The Marine Corps plans to eventually add laser weapons to LMADIS.

Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System [LMADIS]

LMADIS is a counter unmanned aerial system (counter-UAS) weapon consisting of two Polaris MRZR scooters: a command vehicle and a jamming vehicle. LMADIS consists of the RADA RPS-42 hemispheric air surveillance AESA radar system, Skyview RF Detection system and Sierra Nevada MODi RF jammer”  mounted on a MRZR buggy.

 

The uniqueness of the RPS-42 system lies in its ability to detect exceptionally small, low and slow-flying UAS – categorized as significant tactical threats to maneuver forces – which cannot be detected by most existing air defense radars. Advanced VSHORAD systems, especially those based on Directed Energy, require compact tactical radars that are able to detect these and other threats, operate on-the-move, and provide vital real-time threat information to the fire control system. All these critical capabilities are provided by the RPS-42 system – delivering volume surveillance and detection of multiple threat types, including the smallest threats.

 

The short-range S-band radar is highly sensitive and can spot a range of targets, including traditional helicopters and aircraft, as well as small radar signatures like ultralight aircraft and small drones. RADA’s RPS-42 Tactical Volume Surveillance Radar System, based on its Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar (MHR), detects, tracks and classifies micro and mini UAS (Groups 1&2) at ranges of up to 10km. It accurately tracks the threats up to very high elevation angles, operates on-the-move, and introduces unprecedented performance-to-price ratio. In addition to UAVs and short-range RAM (Rockets, Artillery and Mortars), the system also detects and tracks other aerial targets, including fighter and transporter aircraft, helicopters, etc

 

A gyro-stabilized CM202 multi-sensor optical ball can positively identify aerial targets day or night. If the target is deemed unfriendly, a Modi jammer can be turned on to target and break the data-link between the drone and its controller on the ground.

 

LMADIS engagement procedure goes something like this: the RPS-42 detects the drone on radar, or alternately Skyview detects the back-and-forth radio signals between the drone operators and the drone itself. Next, the electro-optical/infrared camera is trained on the incoming drone to make a positive identification as friendly or hostile. If hostile, the Marines aim the MODi jammer at the drone and prevent the drone operators’ radio commands from reaching it. Gravity takes care of the rest.

 

The MODi jammer was tested against a variety of civilian drones, including the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, X8 fixed wing, and Airhawk. The C4ISRNet article quotes the program manager for LMADIS as stating “what we’ve realized is the UAS threat is ever-changing. One day the enemy’s flying Phantom Pros, the next day they’re flying a fixed wing with certain components. What the fleet’s really helping us identify is what they’re flying and how to defeat them, so we can turn back to the fleet and give them a better product to stay up to date with the enemy’s current threats.”

 

Modi II is one of SNC’s Electronic Warfare and Range Instrumentation (EWR) solutions. It is used both offensively and defensively to disrupt enemy communications on the battlefield.  SNC’s EWR software-definable ECM systems are configured for use in man-packable (backpack), vehicular, fixed-site and airborne applications. The Modi II system is state-of-the-art and is becoming a truly viable building block for a potential multi-function, networked, DOD system of systems architecture. It has industry-leading size, weight and power metrics and has become an exceptionally cost effective, sustainable capability set of the future.

 

Raytheon technologies defeat multiple UASs in USAF exercise

Raytheon has demonstrated to the US Air Force (USAF) the ability of its advanced high power microwave (HPM) and mobile high energy laser (HEL) systems to down drones. During the demonstration, the HPM and HEL technologies engaged and defeated multiple unmanned aerial system (UAS) targets.  Raytheon noted that these technologies can provide an affordable solution for the service to combat the growing UAS threat.  The system is mounted on a Polaris MRZR all-terrain vehicle and is designed to detect, identify, track and engage UASs. Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems vice-president Stefan Baur said: “Countering the drone threat requires diverse solutions. HEL and HPM give frontline operators options for protecting critical infrastructure, convoys and personnel.”

 

The HPM technology, which uses microwave energy to disrupt drone guidance systems, allows users to focus the beam to target and instantly defeat drone swarms. The system features a consistent power supply to ensure virtually ‘unlimited’ protection from threats.

Asian Defence News: US Air Force Receives First Laser Counter-drone System from Raytheon

Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice-president Dr Thomas Bussing said: “After decades of research and investment, we believe these advanced directed energy applications will soon be ready for the battlefield to help protect people, assets and infrastructure.” The firm’s HEL and HPM were the sole participants in the experimentation demonstration under the directed energy systems category. Previously, these systems downed 45 unmanned aerial vehicles and drones in a US Army exercise, known as Maneuver Fires Integrated Experiment, held in Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

 

Raytheon’s “Phaser” high-power microwave (HPM)

A new video cleared by the Defense Department shows Raytheon’s “Phaser” high-power microwave (HPM) weapon in a demonstration at the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Raytheon used the swarm-destroying Phaser to bring down Flanker and Tempest drones during the live-fire demonstration conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2013. Three years later, the Defense Department has cleared the footage for public release. Raytheon says it has already reduced the size of the Phaser payload by half and is offering the system up for operational use.

704th Test Group successfully leading Directed Energy Experimentation Campaign > Air Force Materiel Command > Article Display

The HPM weapon is mounted on a 20-ft. trailer with power provided by an internal diesel generator. The Phaser system can detect and track threats using its own radar or be cued by third-party sensors. The device’s parameters can be set to “disrupt” or “damage.” In the demonstration offered to Aviation Week, , the Flanker and Tempest drones were detected, tracked and cued for destruction by a three-dimensional X-band Thales/Raytheon MPQ-64 Sentinel radar and vehicle-mounted Ku-band Close Combat Tactical Radar, with Raytheon’s radio-linked Command View-Tactical system providing command and control.

 

Russia develops High Power Microwave Weapon for protection against UAVs, Missiles and Rockets

In 2015, Russia’s United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (UIMC), part of Rostec Corporation, announced that it developed a super-high-frequency gun for BUK missile systems. The gun can reportedly disable drones and warheads at a distance of up to six miles and is scheduled to be demonstrated in a series of private tests. The system is capable of out-of-band suppression of the radio electronic equipment of low-altitude aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and the warheads of precision weapons.

Russia Develops 'Microwave Gun' Able to Deactivate Drones, Warheads - Sputnik International

A representative from (state-owned) United Instrument Manufacturing Corp that built the weapon described the device to (state-owned) Sputnik News this way: The new system is equipped with a high-power relativistic generator and reflector antenna, management and control system, and a transmission system which is fixed on the chassis of BUK surface-to-air missile systems. When mounted on a special platform, the ‘microwave gun’ the impact range of the equipment is ten kilometers and capable of ensuring perimeter defense at 360 degrees

 

Russia’s Ranet E system

Russia had earlier developed Ranets E is a High Power Microwave (HPM) weapon system, first disclosed by Rosoboronexport in 2001, but little technical detail has been disclosed since then.

 

The weapon used an X-band pulsed 500 MegaWatt HPM source, generating 10 to 20 nanosecond pulses at a 500 Hz PRF, and average output power of 2.5 to 5 kiloWatts. The antenna is large enough to provide a gain of 45 to 50 dB in the X-band, for a total weapon weight of 5 tonnes. The weapon has been described as a “radio-frequency cannon” and Russian sources credit it with a lethal range of 20 miles against the electronic guidance systems of PGMs and aircraft avionic systems. Similar system could be used for neutralization of UAVs.

 

Directed energy Weapons are promising technologies for neutralizing UAVs but Increasing their efficiency and compacting their size are great technological and engineering challenges before they can be employed for the operational role.

 

 

Russia designs several mobile antidrone electromagnetic weapons

Russian defense enterprises designed a line of mobile antidrone electronic weapons. In December 2019, President Vladimir Putin inspected the Garpun-2M portable anti-drone weapon developed by New Technologies Telecommunications (NTT). The upgraded Garpun option blocks command channels and navigation. The portable complex can become an organic weapon on the battlefield to repel a surprise air raid. Garpun-2M is easile carried on the back. In operation, while  soldier supporting  on shoulder, aims the antenna at a drone to disrupt its GPS and ability  to determine it’s position and disrupt communications with the operator.  Another advantage is a small impact on the radio situation.

 

The operational range is at least 500 meters. Garpun-2M easily integrates into the multi-layered antidrone defense. Garpun-2M operates in eight frequency bands. The upgraded option has an additional 5150-5350 MHz band, a narrower angular pattern, better cooling and power capacity. A full charge powers Garpun-2M for 60 minutes non-stop. The consumed capacity does not exceed 220 Watt.

 

Pishchal is one of them. It was designed by Avtomatika Concern. REX-1 was designed by ZALA AERO to destroy drones in direct visibility. It successfully fights multicopters. REX-1 disables the drone, but does not destroy it. The vehicle loses communications with the operator and lands. It is suffice to press one button to make the weapon operational. REX-1 has a jammer to suppress satellite navigation GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and Gaileo in a radius of five kilometers. The device can block GSM, 3G and LTE signals at a distance of one kilometer and jam various frequencies. It weighs 4.2 kg. The power battery ensures uninterrupted operation for three hours.

 

In June 2019, the Russian Stupor rifle was demonstrated for the first time. The portable electromagnetic gun is the latest design of the defense industry and exceeds available anti-drone weapons in several characteristics. Besides the use in the Russian armed forces, the rifle enjoys a good export potential, the Zvezda said.

 

Chinese Engineers Shot Down a Large Drone

A group of Chinese engineers brought down a large, unmanned aircraft using a new electromagnetic pulse-type weapon in what could be China’s first test of EMP weaponry. First reported on by the South China Morning Post in August 2021, the test reportedly concentrated a powerful beam of electromagnetic energy on the aircraft during flight at 1,500 meters, or nearly 5,000 feet in altitude.

 

According to the report, the aircraft behaved “unexpectedly” after an EMP beam struck the aircraft. The aircraft “did not drop immediately, but veered abruptly from one side to another for a period. Flight data and analysis of debris recovered from the crash site suggested that sensitive electronic devices, including its satellite navigation system, cryoscope, accelerometer, barometric altimeter, and communication device, had not been damaged. The battery and motors also functioned properly until collision.” In all likelihood, the aircraft’s “flight control system malfunctioned, issuing an error control command,” an engineer involved with the live-fire event explained.

 

Chinese scientists have developed a high-power microwave weapon that can disable communication satellites.

The Chinese military has accelerated the development of high-power microwave weapons after SpaceX’s Starlink satellites were used effectively against Russia in Ukraine, according to some Chinese military researchers.

The device can generate electricity up to 10 gigawatts in power at a rate of 10 pulses per second – an intense energy that could produce microwave beams powerful enough to fry chips in drones, planes or even satellites.

The device developed by Shu’s team is an electron accelerator with an unusual internal design similar to DNA. It accelerated electrons in two spiral tubes resembling the double-helix structure of genetic material. This unique design allowed the generation of ultra high-power electron beams in a limited space, according to their paper.

The weapon is powered by a new type of compact and lightweight power source, which makes it easier to deploy and increases its effectiveness against moving targets. Usually, an energy supply system with such a high power output is complex, heavy and as big as a room. The new power source is based on a type of compact capacitor that is able to store and release large amounts of energy quickly. This technology allows the weapon to be smaller and lighter, making it more mobile and easier to deploy in the field.

The new device, with all necessary components including capacitors and a control system, can fit into a bookshelf, according to the team led by Shu Ting, of the College of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies at the National University of Defence Technology in Changsha, Hunan province. The small power source enables the military to put the microwave cannon on a truck or rooftop to launch surprise attacks on enemy targets passing across the sky.

The weapon uses high-power microwave radiation to disable electronic systems. Specifically, it can target communication satellites that are becoming increasingly important in global communication systems. This could potentially disrupt communication networks and cause significant economic damage. The researchers claim that the weapon is able to disable a satellite’s control system within five seconds of being fired.

The development of this weapon could have significant implications for national security and space exploration. As more countries invest in space technology, the ability to disable satellites becomes an increasingly important military capability. The development of high-power microwave weapons is likely to trigger an arms race in space, with countries competing to develop new and more advanced weapons. The use of such weapons could potentially cause significant damage to space infrastructure and disrupt global communication systems.

 

 

Challenges and the Way Forward:

While DEWs offer immense potential, their deployment faces technical, legal, and ethical challenges.

However, there are also some limitations to the use of electromagnetic and microwave weapons as countermeasures against drone swarms. For example, they may not be effective against drones that use encrypted communication systems or those that are shielded against electromagnetic radiation.

In addition, the use of such weapons raises ethical and legal concerns, particularly with regards to collateral damage and the potential harm to human health. These concerns must be taken into account in the development and deployment of these technologies.

Overall, the use of electromagnetic and microwave weapons as countermeasures against drone swarms is an area of active research and development. While there are some limitations and concerns associated with their use, these weapons have the potential to be an effective solution to the growing threat of drone swarms.

The use of HPM DEWs is highly controversial due to the potential for collateral damage and unintended consequences. The long-term health effects of exposure to high power microwave radiation are also a concern, and further research is needed to fully understand the risks associated with these weapons.

 

Ensuring proper training, international cooperation, and adherence to arms control agreements are essential for responsible and effective use of DEWs.

Conclusion:

As drone swarms and satellite threats become more sophisticated, traditional defense systems must evolve to meet these challenges. Electromagnetic and High Power Microwave Directed Energy Weapons provide a promising solution for countering these emerging threats. By delivering precision, rapid response, and minimal collateral damage, DEWs are the key to safeguarding national security and preserving the integrity of space operations.

 

However, their development and deployment require careful consideration of the technology aspects involved, as well as safety and ethical concerns. Ongoing research and development will be critical to unlocking the full potential of HPM DEWs.

 

 

References and Resources also include:

https://www.sofmag.com/raytheons-high-power-microwave-weapon-downs-drones-aviationweek/

https://www.airforce-technology.com/news/raytheon-defeat-uas-exercise/

https://www.armyrecognition.com/weapons_defence_industry_military_technology_uk/russia_designs_several_mobile_antidrone_weapons.html

https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/lmadis.htm

https://theconversation.com/scientists-suggest-us-embassies-were-hit-with-high-power-microwaves-heres-how-the-weapons-work-151730

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/05/latest-revolutionary-tools-warfare-microwaves/

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3214251/scientists-shrink-chinas-starlink-killing-microwave-weapon-new-power-source

 

About Rajesh Uppal

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