Directed-Energy Weapons and Electronic Warfare

Directed-Energy Weapons

Directed-Energy Weapons (DEWs) are distinguished in different classes, including:

1) High-Powered Microwave Systems (HPM); these belong to the more general category of High-Powered Radio-Frequency Weapons,

2) High-Energy Lasers.

A reference for the first two classes is provided in this video of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

An example of an HPM is a drone-negation system called THOR, which stands for “Tactical High Power Operational Responder”. It uses high power microwaves to cause a counter electronic effect. It is presented on this page and in this video of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

An example of an HPM which is also a counter personnel (or anti-personnel) weapon, used for instance for perimeter denial, is the Active Denial System (ADS) presented on this factsheet webpage, which includes videos, links and related factsheets. The ADS works by transmitting a high-powered (100 kW output power) beam of 95 GHz, which corresponds to a wavelength of 3.2 mm. This short millimeter wave energy penetrates the skin up to 0.4 mm (corresponding to three sheets of paper) and generates an intense heating sensation.

A safety assessment of the Active Denial System has been conducted by the AFRL and the “Human Effects Advisory Panel” (reference).

Figure 1: Active Denial System (ADS).

Electronic Warfare

Electronic warfare has three major subdivisions: electronic attack, electronic protection, and electronic support. More details can be found at this Wikipedia article.

This is reiterated in this presentation by the U.S. Defense Systems Information Analysis Center (DSIAC), a U.S. DoD component, at this specific section.

Of specific interest is the notion of electromagnetic energy coupling into a target, described at this presentation section.

There is a requirement to address complex RF coupling into targets. Pulsing and frequency regimes may be used for resonant coupling of energy into a target as mentioned here.

Figure 2: Electronic warfare and HPM coupling into targets (source).