Electromagnetic Weapon
Electromagnetic weapons are a type of directed energy weapons which use electromagnetic radiation
Electromagnetic radiation
Electromagnetic radiation is a form of energy that exhibits wave-like behavior as it travels through space...

 to deliver heat, mechanical, or electrical energy to a target to cause various, sometimes very subtle, effects. They can be used against humans, electronic equipment, and military targets generally, depending on the technology.

Taser-like motor effects are also possible. The purpose of the PEP (Pulsed Energy Projectile), the LIP (Laser Induced Plasma) weapon and the Active Denial System (ADS) is to induce pain, although the PEP has lethal capabilities.

When used against equipment, directed electromagnetic energy weapons can operate similarly to omnidirectional electromagnetic pulse
Electromagnetic pulse
An electromagnetic pulse is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. The abrupt pulse of electromagnetic radiation usually results from certain types of high energy explosions, especially a nuclear explosion, or from a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field...

 (EMP) devices, by inducing destructive voltage within electronic wiring. The difference is that they are directional and can be focused on a specific target using a parabolic reflector
Parabolic reflector
A parabolic reflector is a reflective device used to collect or project energy such as light, sound, or radio waves. Its shape is that of a circular paraboloid, that is, the surface generated by a parabola revolving around its axis...

. Faraday cage
Faraday cage
A Faraday cage or Faraday shield is an enclosure formed by conducting material or by a mesh of such material. Such an enclosure blocks out external static and non-static electric fields...

s may be used to provide protection from most directed and undirected EMP effects.

When used against humans electromagnetic weapons can have dramatic effects, such as the intense burning sensation caused by Raytheon's Active Denial system, or more subtle effects such as the creation—at a distance—of a sense of anxiety or dread in an individual or a group of people. Three military advantages of such weapons are: (1) that the individual or group of people would not necessarily realize that they were being targeted by such a device; (2) that microwave radiation, like some other radio frequency radiation, can easily penetrate most common building materials; and (3) that with specialized antennas the radiation and its effects can be focused on either an individual or a large area such as a city or country.

Potential military uses for such weapons include (1) the capability to influence an enemy force (or population) to flee rather than to stand and fight by imposing on them a sense of great anxiety or impending disaster) ; (2) the ability to convince captured enemy combatants that the great sense of physical well-being which seemed to accompany their being even slightly cooperative was much more desirable than the overwhelming sense of uneasiness and dread associated with their being uncooperative; (3) the ability to deprive an enemy force of sound sleep for a prolonged period; or (4) the capability to persuade the close comrades of an enemy soldier that the soldier—perhaps an officer who admittedly hears voices or strange noises that no one else can hear—is going crazy and is not to be taken seriously. Such feelings, voices, or strange noises and dreams can be directed at the enemy with some precision by specialized, microwave-type radiation antennas.

High-energy radio frequency weapons (HERF) or high-power radio frequency weapons (HPRF) use high intensity radio waves
Radio frequency
Radio frequency is a rate of oscillation in the range of about 3 kHz to 300 GHz, which corresponds to the frequency of radio waves, and the alternating currents which carry radio signals...

 to disrupt electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...


High and low power, Pulsed Microwave devices use low-frequency microwave
Microwaves, a subset of radio waves, have wavelengths ranging from as long as one meter to as short as one millimeter, or equivalently, with frequencies between 300 MHz and 300 GHz. This broad definition includes both UHF and EHF , and various sources use different boundaries...

 radiation which can be made to closely mimic and interact with normal human brain waves having similar amplitudes and frequencies. The heart, lungs, and other vital organs are controlled by very low voltage electronic signals from the human brain. It should be possible to disrupt, catastrophically, such signals - from a distance - using this technology.

Ethical considerations

  1. Faced with peaceful, non-violent protestors, law enforcement officials having, say, airborne electromagnetic weapons at their disposal could covertly influence the protestors to disband without the protestors even being aware of such an effort.
  2. Faced with rioting and overt violence a government could covertly create a perimeter fence of radiation through which the rioters could not pass without feeling unbearable pain.
  3. Using electromagnetic weapons law enforcement officials could, over time, covertly harass a "person of interest" into committing suicide and thereby effectively admit his involvement in the crime.
  4. A US citizen could, under the protection of the US Constitution, launch from behind drawn blinds a covert electronic attack on an unwanted, unsuspecting neighbor thereby influencing the neighbor to sell his house and move away. Even if the neighbor suspected he was being harassed electronically he probably could not convince the authorities to search his unfriendly neighbor's home without his being able to produce indisputable evidence of the harassment.
  5. By way of an electromagnetic signal directed toward her from a hidden microwave-type antenna, a woman looking at a piece of clothing or jewelry in a store window could be influenced to experience emotions very similar to those she would experience during a sexual orgasm. She could be thereby covertly influenced to buy the item of clothing or jewelry.

Research and Development

The University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, in conjunction with the Office of Naval Research conducted a study begun in 2004 called, the Sensory Consequences of Electromagnetic Pulses Emitted by Laser Induced Plasma Channels. According to Dr. Jonathan Moreno, author of the book MIND WARS (2009), this project will have to be brought out of the laboratory and onto the battlefield to determine the full effects of using these weapons on humans. (Google award/contract M67854-04-C-5074)

The University of Texas-Austin Institute for Advanced Technology (IAT) conducts basic research to advance electrodynamics
Classical electromagnetism
Classical electromagnetism is a branch of theoretical physics that studies consequences of the electromagnetic forces between electric charges and currents...

 and hypervelocity
The term hypervelocity usually refers to a very high velocity, approximately over 3,000 meters per second . In particular, it refers to velocities so high that the strength of materials upon impact is very small compared to inertial stresses. Thus, even metals behave like fluids under hypervelocity...

 physics related to electromagnetic weapons.

Use against humans

Sometimes considered to be non-lethal, electromagnetic weapons can, under the right conditions or in the wrong hands, pose health threats to humans.

Some bio-effects of electromagnetic (radiation) weapons include effects to the human central nervous system resulting in localized physical pain (e.g. headaches or joint pain), difficulty breathing, vertigo, incontinence, nausea, disorientation, or other systemic discomfort. Electromagnetic radiation weapons may cause cumulative damage to the human body. Electromagnetic weapons can affect the human nervous system and might lead to diseases of the nervous system such as Primary Lateral Sclerosis.

Microwave pulses can affect the epidermis (skin) and dermis
The dermis is a layer of skin between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissues, and is composed of two layers, the papillary and reticular dermis...

, the thick sensitive layer of skin and connective tissue beneath the epidermis that contains blood, lymph vessel
Lymph vessel
In anatomy, lymph vessels are thin walled, valved structures that carry lymph. As part of the lymphatic system, lymph vessels are complementary to the cardiovascular system. Lymph vessels are lined by endothelial cells, and deep to that have a thin layer of smooth muscles, and adventitia that bind...

s, sweat gland
Sweat gland
Sweat glands, or sudoriferous glands, are small tubular structures of the skin that produce sweat. There are two kinds of sweat glands:...

s, and nerve endings, generating a burning sensation or actual burn from as far as 700 meters.

Project Pandora

Project Pandora, conducted by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
This article is about the U.S. Army medical research institute . Otherwise, see Walter Reed .The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is the largest biomedical research facility administered by the U.S. Department of Defense...

 (WRAIR), included externally induced auditory input from pulsed microwave audiograms of words or sounds which create the effect of hearing voices or noises that are not a part of the recipient's own thought processes. Although in a very quiet environment, the test subject would clearly hear the words or sounds whether or not the person was wearing ear protection such as ear plugs.

Use against equipment

Directed energy weapons such as Boeing’s Airborne Laser, a chemical laser which has been mounted in a 747 jet is reportedly able to destroy incoming missiles by heating and warping the thin pressurized skin typical of such missiles.

Electromagnetic weapons, including high power microwaves, were used during the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 to disrupt and destroy the enemy's electronic systems and may have been used for other purposes. The degree of exposure to electromagnetic fields by Iraqi civilians and battlefield troops is unknown.

See also

  • Directed energy weapons
  • Electronic warfare
    Electronic warfare
    Electronic warfare refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly...

  • High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program
    High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program
    The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program is an ionospheric research program jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ....

  • Laser applications
    Laser applications
    Many scientific, military, medical and commercial laser applications have been developed since the invention of the laser in the 1958. The coherency, high monochromaticity, and ability to reach extremely high powers are all properties which allow for these specialized applications.-Scientific:In...

  • Sonic weaponry
    Sonic weaponry
    Sonic and ultrasonic weapons are weapons of various types that use sound to injure, incapacitate, or kill an opponent. Some sonic weapons are currently in limited use or in research and development by military and police forces. Others exist only in the realm of science fiction...

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.