AI News, Raytheon Sets Phasers to Drone Destruction with Directed Energy Weapon Test
- On Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Raytheon Sets Phasers to Drone Destruction with Directed Energy Weapon Test
It's no surprise that the U.S. Army has been developing solutions for this potential threat— we're not sure what they're working on now, but as of late 2013, Raytheon was successfully testing a long range, high power directed microwave weapon capable of taking out swarms of drones in milliseconds.
No matter how heavily cooked you like your drones, microwaves can achieve the desired effect in milliseconds, which is a major advantage of the Phaser over laser weapons: lasers typically require several seconds to burn through a target, and it's very difficult to keep them focused on a small, fast moving, and far away point for that amount of time.
One commonality that all directed energy systems have is their very low cost of operation, which is in the range of cents per firing, far cheaper than either projectile weapons or missiles.
The Army's Real-Life "Phaser" Would Knock Out an Entire Drone Swarm With One Shot
The U.S. Army is testing a new weapon that shares its name with the handheld laser of 'Star Trek' fame.
The Army's Air Defense branch, which hasn't had much to do for decades because of America's overwhelming air supremacy, is back in the spotlight to fight a new threat.
Unlike lasers, which direct a thin beam of intense light at a single drone, Phaser broadcasts a swathe of microwave radiation, destroying the electronics of any drone caught in its path.
It works on any electronics, meaning it affects cars, improvised electronic devices, and pretty much anything that uses integrated circuits.
Tempest in particular can carry up to eight pounds at speeds of more than 70 miles an hour, basically making it a poor man's cruise missile very difficult for ordinary riflemen to shoot down.
It's pretty amazing that the Army was testing out anti-drone weapons three years before the first actual drone attacks—talk about being able to anticipate the threat.
Watch the US Army's real-life PHASER GUN in action: Weapon can knock out a swarm of drones, cars and even smart missiles with a single blast of microwave energy
'The objectives of this investigation were to engage real targets with a deployable directed-energy system, attack more than one type of threat, engage multiple threats simultaneously and kill these threats at operational ranges,' the video's narrator says. 'The Phaser system engaged and shot down two types of UAS targets. Powered by a diesel generator, Phaser can direct a brief jolt of microwave energy in the direction of incoming drones. The energy fries the control systems, stopping their motors and causing drones to fall out of the air.
'Both engagements took place at the speed of light, and target kill confirmation was immediate.' Because the HPM weapons do not discriminate between friendly or enemy electronics, extra care must be taken to avoid wrecking your own systems. The technology is not known to have been used outside of the test range.
A directed-energy weapon (DEW) is a ranged weapon system that inflicts damage at a target by emission of highly focused energy, including laser, microwaves and particle beams.
Potential applications of this technology include anti-personnel weapon systems, missile defense system, and the disabling of lightly armored vehicles or mounted optical devices. In the United States,the Pentagon, DARPA, the Air Force Research Laboratory, United States Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center, and the Naval Research Laboratory are researching technologies like directed-energy weapons and railguns to counter maturing threats posed by fast missiles such as ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles, and hypersonic glide vehicles.
After decades of RD, directed-energy weapons are still very much at the experimental stage and it remains to be seen if or when they will be deployed as practical, high-performance military weapons. Directed energy weapons could have several main advantages over conventional weaponry: Although some devices are labelled as microwave weapons, the microwave range is commonly defined as being between 300 MHz and 300 GHz which is within the RF range—these frequencies having wavelengths of 1-1000 micrometers.
China is developing anti-laser defenses because protection against them is considered far cheaper than creating competing laser weapons themselves. Apart from creating countermeasures, China has also created a direct-energy weapon called the Silent Hunter that can burn through 5mm of steel at 1000m. Dielectric mirrors, inexpensive ablative coatings, thermal transport delay and obscurants are also being studied as countermeasures. In not a few operational situations, even simple, passive countermeasures like rapid rotation (which spreads the heat and doesn't allow a fixed targeting point) or higher acceleration (which increases the distance and changes the angle quickly) can defeat or help to defeat non-highly pulsed, high energy laser weapons. Particle-beam weapons can use charged or neutral particles, and can be either endoatmospheric or exoatmospheric.
The MARAUDER (Magnetically Accelerated Ring to Achieve Ultra-high Directed-Energy and Radiation) used the Shiva Star project (a high energy capacitor bank which provided the means to test weapons and other devices requiring brief and extremely large amounts of energy) to accelerate a toroid of plasma at a significant percentage of the speed of light. The Russian Federation is developing plasma weapons. Cavitation, which affects gas nuclei in human tissue, and heating can result from exposure to ultrasound and can damage tissue and organs.
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.
One theory for a causal mechanism is that the prolonged sound exposure resulted in enough mechanical strain to brain tissue to induce an encephalopathy. The Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) is an acoustic hailing device developed by LRAD Corporation to send messages and warning tones over longer distances or at higher volume than normal loudspeakers.
According to the manufacturer's specifications, the systems weigh from 15 to 320 pounds (6.8 to 145.1 kg) and can emit sound in a 30°- 60° beam at 2.5 kHz. According to a legend, Archimedes created a mirror with an adjustable focal length (or more likely, a series of mirrors focused on a common point) to focus sunlight on ships of the Roman fleet as they invaded Syracuse, setting them on fire. Historians point out that the earliest accounts of the battle did not mention a 'burning mirror', but merely stated that Archimedes's ingenuity combined with a way to hurl fire were relevant to the victory.
in particular, an experiment by students at MIT showed that a mirror-based weapon was at least possible, if not necessarily practical. In 1935, the British Air Ministry asked Robert Watson-Watt of the Radio Research Station whether a 'death ray' was possible. He and colleague Arnold Wilkins quickly concluded that it was not feasible, but as a consequence suggested using radio for the detection of aircraft and this started the development of radar in Britain.
Early reports claimed that this was responsible for causing 'malfunctions on the space shuttle and distress to the crew', and that the United States filed a diplomatic protest about the incident. However, this story is comprehensively denied by the crew members of STS-41-G and knowledgeable members of the US intelligence community. In the United States, the Directed Energy Solar Targeting of Asteroids and exploRation (DE-STAR) Project was considered for non-military use to protect Earth from asteroids. 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'. Also, 'directed energy weapons that target the central nervous system and cause neurophysiological disorders may violate the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980.