posted on Mar, 14 2009 @ 09:52 AM
Electronics-frying "e-bombs" have been discussed for decades — but rarely, if ever, deployed. Knocking out computers and communications gear
with electromagnetic radiation is nice, but commanders prefer the proven method: blowing stuff up.
Now the U.S. Army is developing technology to do both at the same time. Hybrid munitions would give warheads the added punch of an e-bomb that can
"destroy and disable electronic systems and their operators" all in one blast. The key is a magnet that blows up and spontaneously demagnetizes,
releasing energy as a pulse of power. The pulse is carried along a visible antenna "beam" of plasma to the target.
The technology involves a plasma beam as an antenna, so "light saber" type weapons may be around the corner.
Air Force researchers also are worried about small drones to spy on -- or even attack -- U.S. forces. So the military are testing high-powered
microwave blasts, to knock the small planes out of the sky.
The labs have made real progress in demonstrating, in an exercise called 'Black Dart,' the ability to detect, track and even shoot down small"
One method relies on microwave energy to shoot down drones by disrupting the aircraft’s electronics.
In December tests at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Boeing used a different kind of energy weapon -- a Humvee-mounted laser -- to blast
away a small robo-plane.
The drone-zapping project is one of a number of U.S. military efforts to build better microwave weapons that fry electronics. The Air Force Research
Lab has developed a directed energy weapon to destroy buried IEDs (known as “ZEUS”). In December, the service kicked off a three-year, $40 million
Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP). The goal is to build a microwave weapon that is capable of degrading,
damaging, or destroying electronic systems -- including gizmos that are used for military, industrial, civil, and asymmetrical purposes.
A few months before, the Air Force handed out a pair of $5 million contracts under a $75 million research effort to develop such weaponry. The Air
Armament Command has its own effort for building counter electronics payloads. The Navy recently invested more than $7 million on a state-of-the-art
Electromagnetic Pulse pulser.