High-energy radio-frequency weapons

High-energy radio-frequency weapons

High Energy Radio Frequency weapons (HERF) or High Power Radio Frequency weapons (HPRF) are weapons that use high intensity radio waves to disrupt electronics. They are a type of directed-energy weapon. They operate similarly to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) devices, by inducing destructive voltage within electronic wiring. They are usually directional and can be focused on a specific target using a parabolic reflector. Faraday cages may be used to provide protection from most HERF and EMP effects.

New Claims

Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute in Virginia states that: “The relevant [electromagnetic weapon] technology is well within the grasp of some countries and transnational terrorist groups," and further states that U.S. hardware is susceptible to microwave and other directed-energy weapons. [Inside the Pentagon; Cebrowski calls for cultural changes; DEFENSE OFFICIALS URGE COMMON FRAMEWORK FOR PRECISION ATTACKS; April 3, 2003 [http://209.85.215.104/unclesam?q=cache:EVT0Miqqv0EJ:www.oft.osd.mil/library/library_files/article_42_Inside%2520the%2520Pentagon--story%2520from%2520Flash%2520conference.doc+electromagnetic+weapons+heart+attacks&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us] ]

Suitable materials and tools to create electromagnetic weapons are commonly available. "The threat of electromagnetic bomb proliferation is very real." [The Electromagnetic Bomb - a Weapon of Mass Destruction [http://64.233.169.104/unclesam?q=cache:eEfZKS3ahzkJ:www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/kopp/apjemp.html+electromagnetic+microwave+and+other+directed-energy+weapons+LETHAL&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us] ]

In the United States of America, the University of Texas-Austin Institute for Advanced Technology (IAT) conducts basic research to advance electrodynamics and hypervelocity physics related to electromagnetic weapons. [Exploiting Technical Opportunities to Capture Advanced Capabilities for Our Soldiers; Army AL&T; 2007 Oct-Dec; Dr. Reed Skaggs [http://asc.army.mil/docs/pubs/alt/2007/4_OctNovDec/articles/16_Exploiting_Technical_Opportunities_to_Capture_Advanced_Capabilities_for_Our_Soldiers_200710.pdf] ] Generally considered 'non-lethal weapons', electromagnetic weaponry do however pose health threats to humans. In fact, "non-lethal weapons can sometimes be deadly."Air University Research Template: "NON-LETHAL WEAPONS: SETTING OUR PHASERS ON STUN? Potential Strategic Blessings and Curses of Non-Lethal Weapons on the Battlefield"; Erik L. Nutley, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF; August 2003; Occasional Paper No. 34; Center for Strategy and Technology; Air War College; Air University; Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; PG12 [http://209.85.215.104/unclesam?q=cache:yRiK7um-D9sJ:www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cst/csat34.pdf+non-lethal+weapons,+electromagnetic+weaponry+poses+health+threats+to+humans&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us] ]

United States Department of Defense policy explicitly states that non-lethal weapons "shall not be required to have a zero probability of producing fatalities or permanent injuries."Department of Defense; DIRECTIVE; NUMBER 3000.3; July 9, 1996; Certified Current as of November 21, 2003; ASD(SO/LIC); SUBJECT: Policy for Non-Lethal Weapons; References: (a) Title 10, United States Code; (b) DoD Directive TS-3600.1, "Information Warfare (U)," December 21, 1992; PG. 3 [http://64.233.169.104/unclesam?q=cache:vyAvjy1GH4MJ:www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/300003p.pdf+shall+not+be+required+to+have+a+zero+probability+of+producing+fatalities+or+permanent+injuries+DOD&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us] ] Although a Human Effects Advisory Panel was established in 1998 to provide independent assessment on human effects, data, and models for the use of 'non-lethal weapons' on the general population, [Human Effects Advisory Panel Program; presented to: NDIANon-Lethal Defense IV [http://209.85.215.104/unclesam?q=cache:iGV7f_JxXMwJ:www.dtic.mil/ndia/nld4/kenny.pdf+Human+Effect+Advisory+Panel+established&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us] ] the TECOM Technology Symposium in 1997 concluded on non-lethal weapons, “Determining the target effects on personnel is the greatest challenge to the testing community,” primarily because "the potential of injury and death severely limits human tests." However, "directed energy weapons that target the central nervous system and cause neurophysiological disorders may violate the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980. And weapons that go beyond non-lethal intentions and cause “superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering” could violate the Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1977." [Non-Lethal Weaponry: From Tactical to Strategic Applications; Colonel Dennis B. Herbert, USMC (Ret.), program developer, Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies at Pennsylvania State University; pg. 4 [http://64.233.169.104/unclesam?q=cache:3_pQnrRIxDUJ:www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/jfq_pubs/1621.pdf+electromagnetic+microwave+directed-energy+weapons+lethal+human+death&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=us] ]

Some common bio-effects of electromagnetic or non-lethal weapons include affects to the human central nervous system resulting in physical pain, difficulty breathing, vertigo, nausea, disorientation, or other systemic discomfort. Interference with breathing poses the most significant, potentially lethal results. Light and repetitive visual signals can induce epileptic seizures. Vection and motion sickness can also occur. Cavitation, which affects gas nuclei in human tissue, and heating can result from exposure to ultrasound and can cause damage to tissue and organs.

Studies have found that exposure to high intensity ultrasound at frequencies from 700 kHz to 3.6 MHz can cause lung and intestinal damage in mice. Heart rate patterns following vibroacoustic stimulation has resulted in serious negative consequences such as arterial flutter and bradycardia.

Researchers have concluded that generating pain through the auditory system using high intensity sound resulted in a high risk of permanent hearing damage. Organizations in a research program which included the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (Groton, Connecticut), Navy Experimental Diving Unit (Panama City, Florida), SCC San Diego, Navy Medical Research and Development Command (Bethesda, Maryland), Underwater Sound Reference Detachment of Naval Undersea Warfare Center (Orlando, Florida), Applied Research Laboratories: University of Texas at Austin, Applied Physics Laboratory: University of Washington, Institute for Sensory Research: Syracuse University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, Boston University, University of Vermont, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, University of Rochester, University of Minnesota, University of Illinois, Loyola University, and the State University of New York at Buffalo, involved high intensity audible sound experiments on human subjects.

The extra-aural (unrelated to hearing) bioeffects on various internal organs and the central nervous system included auditory shifts, vibrotactile sensitivity change, muscle contraction, cardiovascular function change, central nervous system effects, vestibular (inner ear) effects, and chest wall/lung tissue effects. Researchers found that low frequency sonar exposure could result in significant cavitations, hypothermia, and tissue shearing. No follow on experiments were recommended. Tests performed on mice show the threshold for both lung and liver damage occurs at about 184 dB. Damage increases rapidly as intensity is increased.

Noise-induced neurologic disturbances in humans exposed to continuous low frequency tones for durations longer than 15 minutes has involved in some cases the development of immediate and long term problems affecting brain tissue. The symptoms resembled those of individuals who had suffered minor head injuries. One theory for a causal mechanism is that the prolonged sound exposure resulted in enough mechanical strain to brain tissue to induce an encephalopathy. [“Non-Lethal Swimmer Neutralization Study”; Applied Research Laboratories; The University of Texas at Austin; G2 Software Systems, Inc., San Diego; TECHNICAL DOCUMENT 3138; May 2002 [http://64.233.169.104/unclesam?q=cache:s2NL05udytgJ:www.spawar.navy.mil/sti/publications/pubs/td/3138/td3138cond.pdf+electromagnetic+weapons+affect+heart+rhythm&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=us] ] “Project Pandora” conducted by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, WRAIR, included externally induced auditory input from pulsed microwave audiograms of words or oral sounds which create the effect of hearing voices that are not a part of the recipients own thought processes.

Microwave pulses can also affect the epidermis (skin) and dermis, the thick sensitive layer of skin and connective tissue beneath the epidermis that contains blood, lymph vessels, sweat glands, and nerve endings, generating a burn from as far as 700 yards. ["Non-Lethal Weapons - Just Short of a Miracle"; by Hwaa Irfan; 06/19/2002; Health & Science; Islam Online] Directed energy weapons such as Boeing’s Airborne Laser which can be mounted on a 747 jet is able to burn the skin off enemy missiles. [”Light Warfare”; by Matthew Swibel; 04.23.07; Forbes.com [http://www.forbes.com/businessinthebeltway/forbes/2007/0423/042.html] ]

Electromagnetic weapons, including high power microwaves, were used during the Gulf War to disrupt and destroy the enemy's electronic systems and may have been used for other effects. Types and magnitudes of exposure to electromagnetic fields is unknown. [U.S. Senate - Committee on Veterans Affairs: Hearings - Gulf War Illnesses; Testimony to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee; Meryl Nass, MD, Director of Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Mount Desert Island Hospital Bar Harbor, Maine; September 25, 2007 [http://209.85.215.104/unclesam?q=cache:fQcww3hUQeEJ:www.senate.gov/~veterans/public/index.cfm%3Fpageid%3D16%26release_id%3D11326%26sub_release_id%3D11373%26view%3Dall+electromagnetic+weapons+heart+attacks&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us] ]

References:

External links

* [http://www.janes.com/defence/news/jdw/jdw060825_1_n.shtml High-power microwave weapons - full power ahead?] "Jane's Defence Weekly", 25 August 2006.


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