'Invisible wars' of the future to use e-bombs, laser guns and acoustic weapons
In Russia, a team of scientists headed by Academician Vladimir Fortov at the Institute of Thermal Properties of Extreme Conditions played an important role in the study of the EMP weapon and methods of protection against it. The study puts special emphasis on means of destruction of electric or electronic equipment, which actually forms the infrastructure of many countries. Though specialists do not regard the EMP weapons as lethal, they categorize them as strategic, which can be used for crushing an opponent’s information and transmission nodes.
As demonstrated in the Desert Storm air campaign in 1991, Tomohawk cruise missiles with electromagnetic warheads can be effectively used for inhibiting the functions of an opponent’s vital processing infrastructure. All electronic devices of an entire TV center in Baghdad were incapacitated by a single E-bomb dropped by the U.S. Air Force at the beginning of the second campaign in 2003.
Russia has successfully built and tested a number of flux compression generators over the last few years. The generators can be used as a prototype for building an electromagnetic gun capable of firing at a range of several hundred meters. The present-day technology base already enables a number of countries to design and build electromagnetic munitions of several modifications.
Laser or quantum generator is a device that produces a narrow powerful beam of light by exciting atoms. The laser beam can seriously damage a variety of objects by heating the materials of the latter to high temperatures, disrupting the functions of sensitive components of military equipment, blinding personnel temporarily or permanently, and causing thermal burns of the skin.
Continuous improvements of the laser weapons will, without doubt, secure their greater use for killing an enemy’s personnel and disabling its equipment. There are reports about a laser-beam rifle developed in the U.S. for several years. The rifle is designed for killing enemy soldiers at a range up to 1.5 km.
Specialists have good reasons to assert that the laser weapons will play an important role in the development of a large-scale antimissile defense network in the U.S. In 1996, the U.S. started developing an airborne laser gun designed for destroying enemy missiles during ascent stage. A powerful laser device will be mounted on board the Boeing 747, which will be out on patrol at an altitude of 10-12 km in order to acquire a target within seconds and shoot it down by emitting a laser beam.
The Pentagon intends to form a squadron of seven aircraft by 2008. Martin-Boeing-TRW, one of the leading military contractors, was awarded a contract in February of 2000 to develop a space-based laser gun to be used for missile interception. The initial testing is slated for 2012. The project is expected to be completed by 2020.
The harmful effects of acoustic weapons apply to three frequency bands i.e. infrasound (below 20 Hz); the audible range frequencies (from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz); and ultrasound (above 20 kilohertz). The classification is in line with the action of sound impact on the human body. The low-frequency sounds can significantly increase the audible range, pain threshold and other negative impacts on the human body. Infrasound oscillations can induce anxiety or a panic attack in humans. Some scientists believe that man is unlikely to survive the effects of powerful emission causing a sudden disruption of the functions of certain organs including the cardiovascular system.
Over the last few years, the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) in Pacatini , New Jersey, has been actively engaged in several projects related to the so-called “non-lethal” weapons. In conjunction with the Scientific Applications and Research Associates (SARA) of Huntingdon, California, ARDEC and Los Alamos laboratories are busy developing a high power, very low frequency acoustic beam weapons. They are also looking into methods of projecting non-penetrating high frequency acoustic bullets. ARDEC scientists are also looking into methods of using pulsed chemical lasers. This class of lasers could project a hot, high pressure plasma in the air in front of a target surface, creating a blast wave that will result in variable but controlled effects on materiel and personnel. The infrasound emitters are designed in Britain. The emitters are reported to be capable of impairing a person’s hearing, and cause resonance of his internal organs, which may disrupt the heart activity and result in death.
According to American specialist Janet Morris, research director of the U.S. Global Strategy Council, the Russians have been engaged in the development of acoustic weapons too, and the “results are quite impressive.” Morris says that during her trip to Russia she saw an operational device that can form a10 Hz infrasound pulse the “size of a baseball,” which is said to be capable of causing serious damage to personnel positioned hundreds of meters away from the weapon. In the meantime, there is no convergence of opinions on the harmful effects caused by acoustic weapons.
Translated by Guerman Grachev