Weapon 2100 of the year?

The discussion of sensational still does not stop. news about the plans of the Russian Ministry of Defense. The fact is that not so long ago at a meeting of the Government, Minister of Defense A. Serdyukov mentioned the creation of a certain program providing for the development weapons on "new physical principles." There were no official detailed comments, but the news became popular and discussed. Understandably, any new technology always attracts attention, and besides, the very “new physical principles” by the efforts of some unscrupulous citizens have become a term for designating a deliberately disastrous pseudo-scientific projecting. Nevertheless, not a single army in the world would have refused a fundamentally new weapon systems, surpassing or supplementing the existing ones. Therefore, in many countries, work has already been going on for a long time in such areas that only a few years ago were considered the lot of science fiction.

Serdyukov spoke about the creation of a whole series of fundamentally new weapons: "radiation, geophysical, wave, genetic, psychophysical, and so on." It all looks pretty fantastic. However, often the fiction of today is commonplace tomorrow. Let us try to consider and analyze the principles, prospects and problems of the above-mentioned weapons of destruction from a far perspective.

Beam weapon

To this category can be attributed a fairly wide range of means of destruction. In particular, even the mirrors of Archimedes, which, according to legend, he repulsed the attack of the Roman fleet, can be recognized as radiation weapons. As more modern representatives of this class, we can recall lasers and directional microwave emitters. Both of these technologies are widely used in industry and everyday life, but business has not yet come to full-fledged combat use. The number of experienced combat laser systems can be counted on one hand (Soviet Sanguine, Compression, A-60 aircraft and American systems of the YAL type), and microwave ones are even smaller. However, both areas are not actively used as the main destructive agent. So, lasers are used to guide guided munitions, and microwave radiation is used in detection systems. At the same time, all this is "auxiliary means".

However, lasers and microwave emitters can be used as a striking tool. Their main advantage lies in the extreme simplicity of targeting: the radiation does not deflect like a bullet and can “beat” to a greater distance. Thanks to this radiation weapon, slightly simpler guidance systems are required, and in addition, it is possible to transfer more energy to targets than in the case of using traditional kinetic ammunition. But behind every plus there is a minus. The main problem of all emitters that could be put into service, is nutrition. A light or microwave radiator consumes so much energy that it is necessary to allocate special generators for it. It is unlikely that it will please potential users. In addition, from any radiation you can hide. The well-known Faraday cage protects against radio waves, and protection systems against lasers have long been known - smoke screens and powerful searchlights of the corresponding radiation range. It turns out that the high costs of creating combat emitters can be “compensated” by the enemy by much cheaper methods. Therefore, there is nothing to do on the battlefield so far, as well as in the estimates for the purchase of weapons. But in the study of this area is worth investing, because the study of light or microwave radiation will have non-military "dividends".

Geophysical weapons

Another vundervaffe modernity. From time to time there are messages about its development and even application. But in actual fact they all turn out to be rumors. Moreover, today there is no reliable information regarding at least research in this area. On the one hand, this may be secrecy, and on the other, a banal lack of interest in a less promising direction. However, the dictionary definition for geophysical weapons has long existed. These are the means by which a person can affect inanimate nature in such a way that natural disasters begin on the attacked territory. From here, one can derive some sort of classification and divide geophysical weapons into lithospheric, hydrospheric, atmospheric, and climatic.

There is no evidence of the existence of systems capable of influencing the geophysical state of the planet and causing catastrophes, which, nevertheless, does not prevent some citizens from asserting the opposite. So, for example, it is often said that the American ionospheric research station HAARP (located in Alaska) is in fact a means of influencing the atmosphere and natural phenomena. In this conspiracy theory, there are also allegations that the tsunami in the Indian Ocean 2004 of the year or the anomalous heat wave in Russia of the 2010 was caused by the HAARP complex. There is no convincing evidence or refutation of this. Interestingly, rumors about the use of HAARP as a geophysical weapon are most common in the post-Soviet space. In turn, in the United States and Canada similar things tell about the Russian complex "Sura", located in the Voronezh region.

Of course, theoretically a person can arbitrarily influence the course of some processes in the atmosphere or hydrosphere. In practice, this will require enormous energies, which humanity does not yet have. Thus, during the work of the HAARP and “Sura” complexes, the northern lights can form in the sky. However, after the cessation of radiation, it quickly disappears. For long-term preservation of the effect, as well as for the transfer of the required amount of energy through the atmosphere, we need more powerful transmitters and electricity generators. The situation is similar with other subspecies of geophysical weapons.

There is, however, an alternative way to create geophysical (lithospheric or hydrospheric) weapons. It looks simple: a nuclear or thermonuclear charge of the appropriate power is installed at the desired point of the ocean floor or the crust of the Earth. The installation point must be found in such a way that the detonation of the ammunition will lead to the appearance of a powerful tsunami or earthquake. Such projects have long been haunting the minds of scientists, military and politicians. Still, one click on the button and the enemy has far more important problems than the war with your country. And the earthquake in the background of your confrontation will look like just an accident. Hotheads stops the practical realization of the idea. Finding points for laying nuclear charges is not a quick and difficult task, moreover, it is still not possible to accurately calculate the consequences and the effect of the detonation may not meet the expectations and will not recoup the costs of the project. Simply sprinkling enemy territory with atomic bombs will be much easier and cheaper.

Gene weapon

This category of “weapons of the future” implies an attack not of the enemy itself, but of its genome. Most often, it is proposed to damage the adversary's gene code with the help of viruses or bacteria specially bred in the laboratory, which to some extent unites the biological weapon with the biological one. The effect of a gene weapon is that specially created sequences of nucleotides are introduced into the genome of the soldiers or commanders of the enemy, leading to improper functioning of the organism. In particular, in a similar way, in theory, it is possible to cause a serious violation of human health or even a complete disabling of it.

Despite its apparent effectiveness, genetic weapons are hardly applicable against armies in real conditions. The main snag lies in exactly how the human body "works" with gene information. For example, the immune system monitors the behavior of cells and tries to destroy those whose genetic information is damaged. However, with a large number of damaged cells, the body will no longer cope with their destruction, as is the case with cancer. Another problem with a gene weapon is its speed. Even with the successful introduction into the human genome of artificially created information, it may not have an impact on his body and "emerge" only in future generations. For military use, such tools are not very suitable, although they may be useful for long-term “clearance” of territories. A special case of this version of the gene weapon can be considered the so-called. ethnic gene weapon. It is no secret that representatives of different nationalities have differences in hereditary information, and this, with a certain approach, can allow the creation of pathogens that affect only carriers of certain elements of the genome. But such a version of the gene weapon is not fast-acting, and, in addition, due to agents that carry the information being introduced (viruses or bacteria), it can be recognized as a type of biological weapon that has long been banned.

We often hear that the gene modification of organisms used in the food industry was also created as a gene weapon. However, this version is quite easily refuted by elementary knowledge from the field of biology. For example, for human digestion, it does not make any difference what kind of nucleotide sequence is hidden in the nuclei of the cells of the plant eaten. Gastric juice will break all food substances into a safe (assuming proper cooking) chemical “soup”. Also, do not forget the fact that special methods are used for introducing altered DNA into the cell, which cannot be reproduced in the conditions of an ordinary kitchen, and even more so in the stomach and intestines. Thus, the only way to use GMO in food, capable of claiming the proud title of a weapon, is to cultivate plant varieties that produce toxins dangerous for humans. Only such plants are subject to the Chemical and Toxin Weapons Convention. And it is unlikely that any country will allow a clearly dangerous product to its food market - at the moment food with the use of GMOs is paid so much attention that it will be very, very difficult, if not impossible, to introduce something dangerous.

Psychophysical weapon

The term “psychotropic weapon” is more commonly used to refer to this category, but in general both names are equally correct. The essence of such systems is simple: some apparatus, through some kind of influence on the human brain, causes specially provoked reactions. This may be a pleasure or euphoria, and maybe panic. Most often, psychophysical weapons appear in conspiracy theories and science fiction. With regard to the real world, then it studies in this direction are conducted, although without much success. Perhaps the reason for this lies in the need for contactless human exposure. In favor of this version is the fact that in the field of psychotropic substances there are far greater achievements than in the field of apparatuses for influencing the psyche.

It is argued that psychotronic systems can destabilize the behavior of the enemy and even control it. However, the notorious Helmholtz resonator still continues to remain a mockery of conspiracy therapists. It should be noted, now all the same there are systems that can be called a psychophysical weapon with a big stretch. The fact is that the installation of LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) is still more physical than a psycho-weapon. The essence of its action is to emit a narrow sound of high volume. A person who has come under the direct influence of LRAD begins to experience painful sensations from loudness (physical impact), while those outside the directed beam are forced to endure a very unpleasant squeak (psychological impact). It is noteworthy that soon after the first reports of LRAD, there were no countermeasures against this installation. Simple protective earpieces significantly reduce the noise level, and a sufficiently sized metal sheet can reflect sound waves and direct them to the installation operator.

An alternative to LRAD may be infrasound emitters. With the correct frequency of the signal, they can cause the enemy pain throughout the body or even panic fear. Similar systems have also been developed in various countries, but nothing is known about the practical application, or at least about the prototypes of ready-made military devices. Perhaps potential customers preferred simpler and more familiar solutions to psycho-physiological weapons.

Alternative kinetic weapons

Currently, the main means of throwing ammunition designed to hit a target with the help of its energy, are various gunpowder. They have fundamental flaws: limited calorific value and energy release, as well as demands on a relatively strong barrel that will withstand the explosive release of gunpowder energy. Problems with the barrel for more than a decade have been solved by using recoilless guns, but to preserve the kinetic characteristics of the missile ammunition, this requires a significant increase in the powder charge. It remains only to strengthen the trunks of weapons and guns. As a solution to the problem of increasing the energy of a propellant charge, so-called pneumoelectric ammunition. In them, instead of gunpowder, a specially selected metal, ignited by an electric igniter, burns. Burning heats the inert gas (also located inside the liner), and he, expanding, pushes a bullet or projectile. Theoretically, this type of ammunition can significantly improve the characteristics of firearms. But it has such poor practical prospects that, to date, pneumoelectric cartridges do not exist even in the form of laboratory samples.

But other alternative ways to disperse a bullet / projectile not only exist, but also actively shoot. Since the mid-nineties in the United States are working on rail guns (also used the term "railgun"). They do not need a barrel or gunpowder. The principle of operation of such a weapon is simple: a missile metal object is placed on two rails. They are supplied with electricity, under the influence of the Lorentz force that has arisen, the projectile accelerates along the rails and flies in the direction of the target. This design allows you to achieve much higher flight speeds and ranges than gunpowder. But still, it is not a panacea - for the operation of a rail gun requires a large amount of electricity, which makes it not quite a good option for replacing firearms. However, by the end of this decade, the Pentagon plans to conduct the first test firing of a railgun mounted on a ship. As they say, wait and see.

An alternative to rail guns is the Gauss gun. It also works on electricity and has quite interesting indicators. The principle of its operation differs from the railgun: the acceleration of the projectile occurs by alternately turning on several solenoids located around the barrel. Under the action of their magnetic field, the projectile accelerates and flies away into the target. Gauss cannons are also somewhat attractive to the military, but they have one serious drawback. At the moment, it was not possible to create a sample of such an installation, the efficiency of which would exceed 8-10%. This means that less than a tenth of the energy of the battery or generator is transmitted to the projectile. To call the device with such characteristics energy-efficient just does not turn the language.

Information weapon

Perhaps the simplest and most effective “weapon of the future” today. Information weapons can be divided into several categories depending on the nature of its use. Thus, computer weapons, namely, special software (software), is intended to disrupt the work of the enemy’s computing systems, which in modern conditions will undoubtedly be an effective diversion. These can be specially written viruses that are introduced through “holes” in the software used or so-called. bookmarks. In the latter case, the malware is initially in the target and just waiting in the wings when he is told to start work. Obviously, the introduction of malware into the enemy’s systems is not an easy task, but it’s worth it. For example, disabling or disrupting the operation of communication systems and information processing of air defense troops can make a country defenseless in the literal sense of the word. There have not yet been such major sabotage attacks as military systems, but a few years ago Iranian targets were subjected to cyber attacks. Then the virus Stuxnet drank a lot of blood to the system administrators of Iran. There is information that it was “Staxnet” that led to delays in the technological process of uranium enrichment.

From the concept of cybernetic attack follow the requirements for the defense in the computer sphere. The most common at first glance anti-virus program in this case becomes the most real means of civil defense. Of course, more serious software is needed to protect strategic objects. In addition, to reduce the likelihood of attacks requires the use of special assemblies of operating systems. The fact is that a virus written to be implemented in one version of the operating system may not work at all or malfunction in another. If for extorting money with the help of Internet terrorists blocking programs, this is not a serious problem (they take what is called quantity), then specialized malicious programs are required for precise attacks of a specific computer center.

However, information weapons can be used not only against enemy computers. As such, you can recognize the good old propaganda. It is already clear that this means of instilling the necessary thoughts is not a bit outdated and even gains more and more weight. It is believed that propaganda was mainly supported by widespread access to the Internet.

Question of choice

We do not know what kind of “alternative weapons” the Russian science will develop in the future. As you can see, all of the above systems and methods have both pluses and minuses. Some types of alternative weapons are fundamentally possible in modern conditions, and some in the distant future will be pure fiction. Despite the fact that the term “new physical principles” has long been a kind of scientific joke, you really shouldn't forget about new technologies. However, in the development of revolutionary new ideas there is one serious problem: as soon as a certain direction becomes widely known (for example, nanotechnology in recent years), many suspicious characters are immediately found, unless they promise to get a star from the sky, just give them of money. So it was before, so it is now, and most likely it will be in the future. Therefore, when creating and developing new technologies, special attention should be paid to the distribution of funds for research so that they do not fall into pseudo-scientific hands. And do not be kept on transcendental promises. In this case, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be able to see fully autonomous tanks with artificial intelligence and a rail cannon, soldiers in exoskeletons and Gauss machine guns, as well as airplanes that are invisible in all radiation spectra.
Ryabov Kirill
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