High-powered microwaves (HPM) include two primary technologies. The first is the electromagnetic pulse bomb (e-bomb). The next is the microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation (maser) which uses millimeter wave technology. Both weapons produce power in the megawatt range.
They have a variety of applications based on their power level. At low levels they can confuse sensors and at higher levels they can bum electronic circuitry. They can disrupt communications systems and computer networks. They are used for counter-personnel and counter-material purposes. Many of the details regarding HPMs are classified.
Active Denial Technology
A maser is similar to a laser, but instead of using energy from the light portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, it uses energy from the radio portion of the spectrum, which is a lower frequency. Masers have existed since the early 1950s.
The ADT is a type of maser which operates in the millimeter wave band. ADT was developed by Raytheon Corporation in cooperation with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The ADT’s development was a matter of complete secrecy for about 10 years, and it was not until 2001 that its existence was revealed in mainstream news. Most of the testing regarding its human effects remains classified. The wave emitted from this weapon is just over 3 millimeters, or 1/10th of an inch wide.
The Active Denial System (ADS) is an example of ADT. It operates in the 95 GHz frequency of the radio band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Specifically, this weapon operates in the millimeter wave area of microwaves, which approaches the far infrared (FIR) portion of non-visible light.
The ADS is a counter-personnel, non-lethal, directed-energy weapon, describes the JNLWP in their ADS Fact Sheet, which projects a focused beam of millimeter waves to cause an intolerable heating sensation on a person’s skin. The invisible beam that it shoots, which travels at the speed of light, reaches a depth in the skin of only about 1/64th of an inch.
According to the fact sheet, there is minimal risk of injury because of this shallow depth as well as the tendency for people to instinctively move out of the way after being hit. In addition, there are both hardware and software safety measures built into the computer system which the ADS is connected to which limit the shot duration.
It is powered by a 100 kW ultra-high radio frequency transmitter. The 95 GHz radio frequency beam which it shoots is created from an electric gyrotron generator. The generator can be adjusted. The device is cooled with a closed-loop de-ionized water cooling system. The ADS fires 4-second bursts. It has infrared targeting capabilities for nighttime use and is simple to point and shoot.
The power level of the ADS is adjustable from 100 Kw to 100 MW. The power level and duration of the beam is controlled by a computer, which contains a setting that limits the depth of the beam to only 1/64th of an inch. In addition, the computer allegedly shuts off the beam after only a few seconds of exposure, if it’s tuned properly.
So, its power level and frequency can be adjusted. Its focal point can be adjusted too, from a small dot to a large area which would irradiate several people. The beam can be adjusted to focus on a single individual in a crowd of thousands.
Depending on the power level, it can cause a variety of effects. They include a heating of the entire body, an intolerable burning of a specific area, or a bee sting effect which can cover the entire body. It can also produce resonance (vibration) within the body.
The ADS passes through even the most bulky clothing with ease. It can pass through unshielded walls. Its official range is classified, but it is documented to have a distance of at least 1 km without losing any of its power. Its beam is silent and invisible. And because it operates at the high end of the microwave area of the spectrum (near light), it travels at the speed of light.
The Defense Science Board’s 2004 report Future Strategic Strike Forces, says that for neutralizing individuals, while lasers could be used at long ranges for a strategic strike, the ADS will be effective at much shorter ranges. In its NLW report of 2005, the CFR added: “With its long range and rapid, universal, and reversible effect, ADS has many potential military applications.”
It appears that the safety claims regarding the power level and shot duration of the ADS are the result of a setting which can be used if the operator chooses to do so, and not a limitation of the weapon itself. This was reported in New Scientist in July of 2005 when it was described that a person suffered an injury when the weapon was accidentally set at the wrong power level.
In its Army Orders Pain Ray Trucks: New Report Shows Potential for Death article, of October 2008, ABC News mentioned that the ADS could be used as a “flesh-frying killer.” The Guardian warned in October of 2006, that the new weapon has the potential for a traceless form of urban political control.
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which is the research division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), has funded Raytheon for the production of smaller vehicle-mounted and hand-held weapons which use ADT. Presumably, these too are to be used on civilians, according to a University of Bradford NLW report in March 2006.
According to New Scientist, the US Department of Justice plans to give mobile ADT units to police forces around the country.3 And National Defense News reported that some portable ADT weapons can be powered by a truck battery.
The NIJ’s interest in these smaller weapons was only one of many possible domestic applications, says ABC News. There have been other proclamations in mainstream sources that the military and police have been preparing for the use of the ADS on civilians in a variety of scenarios.
There are multiple masers which use ADT, including the Vehicle Mounted Active Denial System (VMADS), Silent Guardian, Portable Active Denial System (PADS, also called ADS2), and a type of compound directed-energy weapon with multiple lethal and nonlethal weapons mounted onto a single platform, called Project Sheriff. All of these weapons were developed by Raytheon for agencies such as the DOE and NIJ/DOJ, with the cooperation of the Air Force.
Active Denial System
The ADS2, also called System 2 and Portable Active Denial System (PADS), was developed by Raytheon Corporation beginning in 2005 for the Department of Energy’s Office of Security and Safety Performance Assurance (SSA) and the Department of Defense’s Office of Force Transformation (OFT).
The ADS2 is an enhanced, ruggedized version of the original system. A nonlethal weapons report by the University of Bradford, UK describes it as a smaller, more portable version of the original. It is a self- directed weapon. It can be mounted to a plane or vehicle.
National Defense Magazine says the ADS or ADS1 was the prototype version of this weapon, and the ADS2 is basically the same, but more stable. The ADS2 has improvements in its design that allow it to be used in many operational environments. It is available to the military, civil law enforcement, and private security companies, according to Raytheon Corporation.
Project Sheriff, also called Full Spectrum Effects Platform (FSEP), is a vehicle-mounted ADS developed by Raytheon in 2005 for the DOD’s Office of Force Transformation (OFT), as well as the DOE’s Office of Security and Safety Performance Assurance (SSA). Allegedly, the DOE will be using it to protect nuclear facilities.
The unit contains a suite of lethal and nonlethal weapons mounted onto a single weapons platform. Among its nonlethal arsenal are two weapons which can focus tight beams of sound and light. The first uses a laser to temporarily impair a person’s vision by transmitting a focused beam of bright light into their eyes.
Next, the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) is capable of transmitting an intensely focused beam of noise directly into their ear. This noise can be a warning made in real-time by an operator, or an MP3 sound file.
The FSEP is also equipped with a lethal weapon with an obscure description called the gunslinger, which contains acoustic and infrared sensors to detect the exact location of sound and movement, allegedly to locate and destroy snipers. After the origin of the commotion is detected, says National Defense Magazine, “it automatically swivels, locks in and fires in the direction of the assailant.” The FSEP may be equipped with other weapons as well.
The Silent Guardian, built by Raytheon, is about the size and power of other ADT systems. It is a 7.5 foot high, 5 ton, vehicle-mounted or stationary system, with a 45 x 45 inch dish antenna, and a 360 degree shoot zone. It has an auto-tracking feature, which can fire 2-second bursts of directed-energy up to 250 meters away. It can switch from standby to armed mode in less than 2 seconds. It can also engage alternate targets in less than 2 seconds.
Allegedly it will be used for checkpoint security, embassy protection, homeland security, and peacekeeping operations. The Silent Guardian uses an antenna to transmit a focused millimeter wave beam for the “precise targeting of specific individuals,” says Raytheon. In addition to the auto-tracking feature, the operator can manually observe people through a targeting screen and attack them with the use of a joystick. The infrared sensors on the antenna are said to be able to detect the excessive heating of a targeted individual, which results in a signal being sent to the operator to move off that target.
Vigilant Eagle is a ground-based weapons platform developed by Raytheon. It consists of three primary units: a C2 unit, a sensor unit, and an amplified antenna grid which fires a beam of microwave energy. Its intended use is to detect and disable surface-to-air missiles at airfields and commercial airports. It does this by frying the electronic circuitry of the missile.
The sensor unit includes a constellation of distributed infrared sensors called the Missile Detect and Track subsystem (MDT). The infrared sensors on this platform are configured to detect missiles. The sensors are said to be so reliable and accurate that they provide a 360 degree dome of protection around an entire location.
False alarms are few because detection is verified by multiple sensors. The C2 unit is referred to as the Fire Distribution Center (FDC). It can both track and identify all objects in the airspace that are detected by the sensors. After it identifies an object, the C2 unit can then recommend appropriate action. The FDC has been used in the military since 1994, and has recently been installed to protect the airspace over Washington D.C.
The large rectangular antenna is called the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA). It consists of a group of microwave antennas whose rays flow into a solid-state amplifier, which combines them into single beam of energy. The result is a highly focused microwave beam with a range of at least 60 miles.
Electromagnetic Pulse Weapon
The electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon, also called the e-bomb, or the radio flash weapon, is capable of disrupting or damaging the circuitry of most electronic devices.
The weapon accomplishes this by sending either a single pulse or a series of fast, high-powered pulses of electromagnetic energy in the range of 100 MHz to 20 GHz. These pulses are similar to a lightening strike or a nuclear blast. The power level of these pulses can be several hundred megawatts (MW). The EMP weapon has a range of at least several hundred meters, but reportedly can be transmitted up to 15 Km.
The specific method by which the pulse attaches to the circuitry is called coupling. Coupling is simply the binding of an energy wave onto a conductor. There are two types of coupling. The first is called front door coupling and it happens when the energy wave binds to the antenna of a device. The other type is called back door coupling. It occurs when the wave binds to external components such telephone lines, network cables and power lines.
It can also occur with ports on the back of a computer, such as serial ports. After the energy binds, it then moves through the circuitry, frying or disrupting sensitive internal components, such as crystal diodes, ICs, mixers, logic circuits, etc.
The precise targeting of electronic devices can be accomplished in the following way: First the EMP weapon can be aimed in a specific area. The primary factor is not the power of the pulse, but the ability to focus the output. The energy must be accurately deposited at a certain range to be effective.
Next, it can be configured to send a single pulse consisting of a specific frequency, which will only destroy the circuitry of a device that functions on that frequency. In this manner, if an operator has the frequency signature of a target device, then only that single device will be affected, while others in the area remain unharmed.
Furthermore, a series of fast pulses consisting of multiple frequencies can be sent to an area, which will affect the circuitry of all devices operating on those frequencies. This type of delivery is referred to as an ultra wideband pulse (LJWBP). It can be adjusted to cover large areas, even an entire city.
In 1990, the International Review of the Red Cross, declared, “It is possible today to generate a very powerful microwave pulse… with an energy level of several hundreds of megawatts.” Using specially adapted antenna systems, “these generators could in principle transmit over hundreds of meters… ( or up to ) approximately 15 km.”
There is allegedly no unshielded device that can withstand one of these strikes. Dr. Nick Begich declared, “With this kind of weapon there is no machine which could get by this invisible wall of directed- energy.” The US Air Force, Center for Strategy and Technology at Maxwell Air Force Base says an EMP weapon could destroy any electronic device within its range.
Its intended targets include: missiles, aircraft, vehicles, boats, communications systems, computers, networks, radars, and radios. It can interfere with radio, shortwave, and television transmissions. It can also disrupt or destroy an ignition system. Another proposed use is to disrupt the electrical utilities of an enemy. An entire city can even be hit.
Platforms for the EMP weapon are air-based, sea-based, ground-based, and portable. They can be mounted on aircraft or ships. The ground-based weapons can be mounted on a hilltop or building. They can also be mounted in a van for concealment and mobility purposes. In 1997 the FAS advocated the use of a man-portable EMP weapons by police officers and ground troops.
High-powered microwaves with ranges of up to 60 miles exist. Smaller variations of these weapons with adjustable levels of lethality also exist and have been deployed to police and military units to be used on civilians. These weapons are silent, traceless, invisible, and can easily pass through most unshielded structures.